Working Out After Getting a Tattoo: 8 Tips to Do It Right

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If you’re an active person and you’re planning to get a tattoo soon, you might be wondering if working out after getting a tattoo is a good idea. The good news is, you don’t have to give up your love for tattoos or working out completely, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

So, can you work out after getting a tattoo? According to research, it is recommended to avoid high-intensity exercise for 48-72 hours after getting a tattoo. Light exercise programs are suggested for 2-3 weeks until the tattoo is completely healed. This approach minimizes the risk of complications and allows for optimal recovery.

Since working out after getting a tattoo is a hot topic, we’ll provide some recommendations and best practices for taking care of a new tattoo while exercising in this post.

Working Out After Getting a Tattoo

New Tattoos and Workout: Important to Know

If you’re thinking about working out after getting a tattoo, it’s important to know how to take care of it properly. Taking care of a new tattoo is crucial to ensure that it stays healthy and beautiful for years to come.

It’s best to avoid certain activities like sunbathing, swimming, or high-intensity exercise in the first few days after getting a new tattoo.

These activities can increase the chances of getting an infection or damaging the tattoo. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you can’t work out at all with a new tattoo. Before we dive into the details, let’s first discuss why it’s important to wait before working out with a new tattoo.

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Work Out After Getting a Tattoo

There are several reasons why it’s best to avoid working out after getting a tattoo.

#1 Higher risk of infection

Sweating during exercise can increase the risk of infection as it sinks into your skin and can get into your tattoo. This can lead to itching and even infection.

#2 Irritation

Working out can delay the healing time and cause irritation to the area around the tattoo. This can make the healing process longer and more uncomfortable.

#3 Increased probability of fading

Exercising can cause the color of the tattoo to fade. Tattoo inks are designed to stay inside the skin, but excessive sweating during the early stages of healing can cause ink to run out. This can result in a loss of color and definition in the tattoo.

#4 Excess bleeding

Exercise increases your blood pressure, which can cause excessive bleeding from your tattoo.

#5 Performance issues

Working out after getting a tattoo can compromise your performance as your focus may be on your tattoo, rather than your workout. This can lead to an interrupted workout and slow you down both mentally and physically.

#6 Exposition to friction

High-intensity workouts that involve friction, such as weightlifting or cardio, can cause the skin to rub against clothing or equipment, which can cause the scabs to come off prematurely. This can lead to scarring or a distorted tattoo.

tattooed man playing padel

Working Out After Getting a New Tattoo: Best Practices

Exercising after getting a new tattoo can be tricky, but with the right approach, you can ensure that your tattoo heals properly and without complications.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when training after getting a tattoo:

  • Wait at least 48 hours before exercising: We recommend waiting at least 48 hours after getting a tattoo before exercising. After this period, you can do some light training, depending on the location of the tattoo.
  • Start slowly: If you do decide to exercise while your tattoo is healing, start with light exercises such as walks, easy stretches, light weight lifting, yoga, or other forms of lower-intensity exercises.
tattooed woman working out with a tattoo

  • Avoid swimming or water sports for at least 4 weeks: Swimming and other water-related activities should be avoided until your tattoo is completely healed. Exposure to bacteria in water, both pool and sea, can increase the risk of infection.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Sunlight and tattoos do not mix well, so avoid exposing your tattoo to direct sunlight, especially during the healing process.
  • Wear loose clothing: To prevent your new tattoo from rubbing against your clothes, wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Disinfect gym equipment: Make sure that the equipment you use is properly cleaned to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Clean your tattoo before and after training: Before and after your workout, clean your tattoo to ensure that it stays free from bacteria.
  • Avoid locker rooms: Locker rooms are often wet environments and are prone to bacteria, so avoid them while you have a new tattoo to reduce the risk of infection.

Click here to see our tattoo aftercare instructions based on medical research.

Running With a New Tattoo

If you’re a runner who has recently gotten a new tattoo, it’s important to know when it’s safe to resume your running routine. We recommend waiting at least a week before running after getting a tattoo.

Running can affect almost every part of the body, so it’s essential to give your tattoo enough time to heal properly. Even if the tattoo is not in a directly impacted area, movement can still affect the tattoo’s healing process.

By waiting at least a week before running, you can ensure that your tattoo has enough time to heal properly, reducing the risk of complications and ensuring the longevity and integrity of your new ink.

Bottom Line

In summary, missing a few days of training can help avoid infections and other complications when you get a tattoo.

Allowing your skin time to heal will enable you to get back to your workout routine quickly. We recommend taking it easy with some light training after a few days. However, make sure to avoid direct sunlight and water during this period.

Remember, if you can handle a wole tattoo session, you can also hold off on working out for a few days to give your body the time it needs to heal.


Will sweat ruin a new tattoo?

Tattoos can affect how much you sweat, and this can affect how well you perform during exercise. Research studies (Dovidio et al., 2020; Luetkemeier et al., 2018) have shown that tattoo ink can block sweat glands in the skin, making it more difficult for your body to cool down when you sweat. On the other hand, sweating excessively can cause your tattoo to fade or blur over time, and increase the risk of infection if you have a new tattoo.

Will my tattoo stretch if I lift weights?

If you gain a lot of muscle and your skin stretches, it may not necessarily affect your tattoos. This is because even if you lift weights and exercise regularly, it usually takes a long time for your muscles to bulk up enough to cause significant stretching of the skin. While gaining muscle can cause some stretching of the skin, it is unlikely to be enough to distort or warp the appearance of a tattoo.

What if I sweat under my tattoo wrap?

Excessive sweating under a tattoo wrap is not good for the healing and appearance of the tattoo. It can push out ink, weaken the adhesive, and cause bacterial growth which can increase the risk of infection. It may also lead to bumpy skin, raised scars, and color loss. To avoid these problems, you should follow proper aftercare instructions, such as changing the wrap frequently and avoiding excessive sweating.

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