It is not a myth that you should avoid most exercise for a period of time after Botox. Exercise can increase heart rate and blood flow, which can cause Botox to migrate to other areas.

Exercising too soon after receiving Botox can cause the drug to migrate (move) outside of the intended treatment area. This may cause side effects such as temporary drooping or weakness of facial muscles.

This article looks at how exercise may affect Botox, do’s and don’ts for exercising after Botox treatment, and when you can resume your regular activities.

Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

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Post-care instructions usually recommend avoiding strenuous exercise or activities that could increase blood flow or facial pressure for 24 hours after receiving Botox.

This is because exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow. These effects can cause the active ingredient in Botox to migrate from the injection site to other areas of your body.

Botox contains onabotulinumtoxin A, which is a neurotoxin. It blocks nerves in the muscle it’s injected into. This prevents the muscle from contracting and temporarily paralyzes it. If the toxin moves to another area, it may affect other muscles. This could cause unwanted side effects, such as temporary drooping or weakness in your face.

Pressure to your face may also cause Botox to move out of position during the recovery period. Pressure can come from wearing sports gear such as a cycling helmet or a swimming cap.

In addition, any exercise that causes sweating may make you wipe sweat from your face. This can apply unintentional pressure.

Clinics also suggest that avoiding exercise may help reduce the risk of swelling and bruising (possible side effects of Botox).

Does Botox go away faster with exercise?

Some anecdotal reports suggest that exercise shortens the effects of Botox.

A small 2023 study involving 60 females suggests that physical activity may shorten the duration of the effects of cosmetic Botox. The study found that Botox effects wore off more quickly with high levels of physical activity than with low or moderate physical activity.

The study authors state that this may be due to the effects exercise has on the body, such as restoring normal muscle contractions. However, there is little evidence to support this.

The study mentions other research suggesting that exercise may increase insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels. Higher IGF-1 levels may cause nerves to regrow in muscle tissue, and new nerve growth could counteract the nerve-blocking effect of Botox.

Note that the Botox doses each participant received were not tailored to their specific forehead wrinkles or frown lines. The dosage may have affected the study results.

There is little scientific evidence as to when you can exercise again after receiving Botox. The American Academy of Dermatology advises waiting 2 hours, but most cosmetic clinics recommend waiting 24 hours.

To prevent Botox from migrating to other areas, clinics also advise waiting until 4 hours after treatment to do the following:

  • engage in any moderate exercise, such as swimming or brisk walking
  • apply any pressure to your face
  • lie down

You may be able to resume vigorous exercise (such as running) after 24 hours. However, in some cases, a clinician may advise you to wait up to a week before engaging in vigorous exercise. This waiting period is considered long enough for the Botox to settle into place.

These restrictions may apply to cosmetic and medical Botox procedures. However, you should always follow the specific aftercare instructions the clinician gives you.

Even though vigorous or strenuous exercise is off-limits, some exercise is OK.

Types of exercise you may be able to do within 24 hours after Botox include:

  • gentle walking
  • general daily activities, such as light housework
  • facial exercises

A small 2019 study suggests that facial exercise after Botox treatment may increase the rate at which Botox results are noticeable after treatment.

A clinician may recommend that you exercise your facial muscles in the 4 hours after Botox treatment. This may include smiling, frowning, and other facial expressions. If you’re interested in this, talk with your Botox clinician for more information.

Types of exercise you should not do for a set period after Botox include:

  • heavy lifting
  • weightlifting
  • movements that involve bending over, inverted positions, or lying down, such as in yoga
  • anything that applies pressure to the area, such as wearing restrictive sports gear or wiping sweat away
  • any exercise that increases your heart rate
  • jogging or running
  • contact sports

You may have to wait 4 to 24 hours before engaging in the above activities, but always follow your clinician’s specific instructions.

Does running after Botox affect the results?

Maybe. Running is considered a strenuous activity. It can increase your circulation (blood flow), which may cause Botox to migrate to other areas. Clinicians may advise waiting 24 hours before running after Botox.

You can ask your Botox clinician for aftercare instructions and activity restrictions.

Can you lift weights after Botox?

No. You will need to wait a certain period of time — usually 24 hours — before lifting weights or heavy items. Weight training can raise your heart rate. This increases blood flow, which may cause Botox to move outside the intended treatment area and affect the results.

For specific guidance, talk with the clinician who gave you the Botox injections.

Can Botox migrate after 24 hours?

It’s possible but unlikely. Typically, cosmetic clinics restrict certain activities for no more than 24 hours. This is usually enough time to avoid Botox migration to other, non-injected areas. In some cases, a clinician may recommend waiting longer than 24 hours before doing more strenuous activities.

The clinician who gave your Botox injections can provide more information about Botox migration.

A clinician will advise you of any postinjection care after Botox, including activity restrictions. During the recovery period, this may include avoiding:

Contact a doctor if you experience any concerning symptoms after receiving Botox, such as:

Seek emergency care if you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, swallowing, or speaking. Call 911 or your local emergency number.

A clinician may advise you to avoid strenuous exercise in the 24 hours after Botox treatment.

This is because exercise increases your heart rate and blood flow. Increased blood flow can cause Botox to migrate from the treatment area to other parts of your body.

After the recommended recovery period, you will be able to return to exercise as usual.