Last Updated on by Eat Better Move More

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo?

Tattoo is one of many forms of body modification that has to do with making designs on the body by inserting ink, pigments and dyes.

It can be permanent or temporary. There are three categories of tattoo: decorative, symbolic and pictorial tattoos. Also, there are five types of tattoo: Traumatic, Identification, Cosmetic, functional and Medical tattoos.

You cannot exercise after getting a tattoo, not immediately. You should allow your skin to heal before you recommence any form of exercise.

Can you exercise after getting a tattoo? Keep reading to grasp why it is much preferable to avoid exercise immediately after getting a tattoo and the duration it takes before you can resume working out after you get a tattoo.

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo – Why You Should Not

There are several reasons why you should stay away from your regular workout routine after getting a tattoo.

Exercise severity

Some exercises are strenuous while others are mild; when you lift weight, it involves the complete movement of your body muscles. When you perform aerobic exercises, you sweat heavily; this sweat can flow to your new tattoo.

Your skin is open

When getting a new tattoo, the skin is cut open; this means there is an external break in the body tissue.

The wounds are minor but there is a risk of more harm to your open skin when it is infected by germs and bacterial from gym equipments.

Exercise outfit

Most outfits used by athletes are tight. When you put on most sport wears, there is a great chance that the outfit will rub on your tattoo and cause irritation. 

Heat from the tight clothes can peel off your tattoo or make you itch.

Body movement – can you lift weights after getting a tattoo?

During exercise, the movement of your muscles pushes out your skin. If you get a tattoo on your biceps for example, when you perform a routine like pull ups, the muscles on your hand would surely contract.

This body movement can cause more tissue damage; thereby affecting the recovery process of the tattooed area. Can you lift weights after getting a tattoo? No, you can’t; you can after a few weeks

Skin irritation – from sweat Sweating with a new tattoo

When you exercise, your clothes get stuck to your body because of sweat. The tattooed area can stick to the clothes as well. Sweating with a new tattoo can cause infection on the open skin.

Also, when the gym equipment rub against the freshly tattooed part of your body, it can cause the wound to reopen; this can cause skin irritation which delays the recovery process.

When you instinctively scratch your skin due to scabs picked up by your clothes, it might increase the fading of the tattoo. If you use a public gym, your skin could come in contact with the sweat of other people; this could potentially cause infection.

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo


The use of steroids will cause your skin to stretch over a very short period and it will alter the design of the tattoo and also slow the healing process of the cut.

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo – When Is The Appropriate Time?

Can you exercise after getting a tattoo?

It takes 4 to 6 weeks for the tattoo cut to heal. Most tattoo artists recommend that you stay away from any physical or stressful activity that can cause you to sweat heavily; you can wait 48 hours before doing anything.

The needle used for tattoo punctures the skin several times per minute (about 3,000 times). Exercising immediately after getting a tattoo can lead to bacterial infections, sun burns on outdoor exercise, and other skin irritations which will affect the healing time of the cut.

Since I have a personal gym do I still have to stay away from exercise?

It doesn’t matter how neat and clean your gym is, muscle contraction, skin movement or expansion during workout, and friction can irritate your skin; slowing down the healing.

When is the ideal time to resume workout after getting a tattoo?

There are several conditions you have to consider before commencing exercise after getting a tattoo, they include the following:

The place you workout

If you are an athlete preparing for a competition and you have to work out with your team mates, you can resume mild workout after 48 hours in order not to slow your teammates down and at the same time allow your tattoo to recover gradually.

But the risk of getting your tattoo infected is very high as you can’t really know the hygiene level of others in the gym.

But when you are working out at the comfort of your privacy, there is a higher guarantee of neatness and you can ensure that all precautionary measures are taken.

Type of workout

If you have your tattoo in an area that your workout program does not affect, you can start gently after 48 hours with very mild workout, don’t stretch the tattoo area and don’t do strenuous workout that could tear open the tattoo cut. Don’t lift heavy object during exercise, your tattoo wound has to heal fully before you resume weight lifting.

How To Take Care of A Fresh Tattoo

  1. You have to wait for the cuts to heal completely before you resume. 
  2. Don’t wear very tight clothes on the tattooed area and don’t expose the tattooed area to direct sunlight during hot seasons. Avoid direct contact between your newly tattooed area and gym equipments.
  3. Avoid steroids and use oil for tattoo on the new cuts. You have to ensure strict adherence to the guidelines from the tattoo artist. You have to keep the bandage on for some hours before you remove it. Use soap and warm water to wash the area, and then you can use the tattoo oil on the surface of the skin after washing.
  4. Use Aquaphor, bacitracin oil, or saniderm on the tattooed area to prevent scab formation and fasten the healing time.
  5. You have to figure out a way to take your bath to avoid tearing open the tattooed area.
  6. Do not stay too long in the shower, and avoid swimming for some time until your wound heals.

Can You Exercise After Getting A Tattoo Conclusion

Can you exercise after getting a tattoo? Before you consider getting a tattoo, you have to put into consideration the activities that you do with the area you want the tattoo. You will have to wait 48 hours to start mild workout.

Also, you should be aware that it will take 5-6 weeks for the tattoo to heal completely; this is when you can resume workout fully.

Different muscles in the body require different routines and movements to achieve the desired results.

If your tattoo is at your back, you will have to avoid bench workout and avoid putting pressure on the newly inked area; the wall, bench and gym equipments can disturb your new tattoo. Also consider the movement of your skin during workout and avoid strenuous body movements. 

Improve your health by taking more antioxidants to fasten your healing process; antioxidants help your cells and your skin.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here