Home » Can You Work Out After Getting a Tattoo? 3 Things to Consider

Can You Work Out After Getting a Tattoo? 3 Things to Consider

No, getting a workout immediately after earning a tattoo is not advisable.

Getting a tattoo is one of the most personal things you will do for yourself. It is not just a trend but also an act of self-body to many. By adoring yourself with a tattoo that means something to you, you showcase who you are to the world.

One of the most important things to remember is that you should wait to work out after getting a tattoo. Instead, it would help if you gave your body adequate time to heal. However, getting a tattoo can require effort, time, and possibly some discomfort, and you need to prepare in advance and think of the after-care.

The more extensive the tattoo, the more time your body will need to heal. It’s because your body will treat your tattoo as an open wound. With the numerous needle pricks, your body endures while getting a tattoo, the area bleeds, and the skin must dry out completely before you return to something strenuous like working out.

Ask your tattoo artist how to take care of the body so that you do not interfere with the healing process, especially regarding exercises.

Reasons Why You Should Wait for Workout After Getting a Tattoo

There are quite a few reasons why you should wait for an adequate period after getting a tattoo to work out or indulge in intensive physical activity.

1. Open Injury

Open Injury

A tattoo is created by hundreds of needle pricks that push the ink under the skin. While you might be doing it for aesthetic reasons, it is an injury caused to the body that opens the skin. Going to the gym or even using your gym equipment at home brings your skin into contact with germs that can cause infection.

Moreover, the activities and exercises will stretch your skin, not allowing it to close and heal. You may even cause the skin to rupture further and cause it to bleed again. It will only delay the healing process and cause you more pain. That’s why letting your body rest after a tattoo is essential.

2. Risk of Infection

Risk of Infection

You will increase your risk of infection if you return to working out soon after getting a tattoo. You will immediately start sweating, and the bacteria will enter your skin through the open wound.

It will be a continuous process, making your skin feel irritable and itchy. It will interfere with the recovery, and you will have to use ointments or take medicines unnecessarily. It is better to wait than go through this hassle.

3. Friction


Getting caught up in the moment is easy when you start working out. You don’t realize that your movements cause friction in some body regions or that the area where you got the tattoo may be rubbing against some of the equipment.

That will increase the chances of infection and aggravate the wound. Hence, taking it easy until your tattoo starts drying would be best.

Things to Consider After Getting a Tattoo Before You can Workout

Here are a few things to consider before you start working out after getting a tattoo.

1. Tattoo Placement

Tattoo Placement

Consider where you got the tattoo and then exercise the body part accordingly. For example, if you have a tattoo on the upper body, you can train your lower body and vice versa.

However, you must be careful if you have a full-back or full-chest tattoo, as the areas will be affected no matter which part of your body you train. Hence, it is better to wait.

2. Tattoo Design

Tattoo Design

If you have a small tattoo anywhere on your body, it will heal faster. The wound will be minor, with less pulling and stretching. However, if you have received an intricate and extensive tattoo, it will take longer to heal.

It would be best if you were careful about how much it spreads and whether the area of the body is being worked on while you are exercising. Since working out involves all the muscle groups of your body, it is better to wait till it has healed.

3. Body Dynamics

Body Dynamics

You need to understand your body before working out after getting a tattoo. Some people take longer to heal than others just because of how their body is. Or some people tend to sweat less compared to others.

It is essential to understand your own body and then start working out accordingly. If your body takes longer to heal, while others can return to working out after two weeks, you should wait for three.

How Long Do Tattoos Take to Heal?

How Long Do Tattoos Take to Heal?

You should avoid working out too long if you are a fitness enthusiast. However, a tattoo takes about two weeks to heal, and you should wait for that. It does not mean that you cannot go about your daily routine.

But working out entails a different exertion level which you should avoid. It would be best if you also avoid lifting heavy equipment. In the meantime, the best care you can give yourself is to keep your tattoo clean and prevent dirt or sweat as much as possible.

Is it Possible to Do Light Exercises after Getting a Tattoo?

Is it Possible to Do Light Exercises after Getting a Tattoo?

Yes, it is possible to do light exercises after getting a tattoo that does not make you sweat profusely or exerts your body significantly. Most importantly, it is essential to be mindful that your workout does not exercise the region of the body where you have got the tattoo.

For example, avoiding exercises that make you bend down or twist your lower body is advisable if you have a tattoo on the waist. Similarly, if you have a tattoo on your shoulders, you should avoid lifting heavy equipment or doing pulling and stretching exercises.

Instead, you could go for a walk or free-hand exercises that do not exert much pressure and make you feel calm and energized.

However, if you have a full-chest or full-back tattoo, it will involve almost all the muscles of your core area, no matter how light an exercise you want to do. In such cases, resting and healing your tattoo before resuming your workout is best.

What Kinds of Exercises Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo?

Avoid specific exercises until your tattoo has healed completely, especially under certain conditions. Here are some of them.

1. Working Out Outdoors

Working Out Outdoors

Working out after getting a tattoo is to be avoided under normal circumstances, and you must avoid it altogether if you are under the sun. Avoid working out or running outdoors when the sun is beating down on you.

That will make you sweat more, increasing the risk of infection. The sun will also make your skin sensitive and prone to itching. Moreover, harsh sunlight can bleach the colors when you have just been inked.

Experts recommend keeping your tattoos away from sunlight for about four weeks to prevent complications.

2. No Swimming

No Swimming

While you may love to swim, staying away from the swimming pool after getting a tattoo is advisable because the pool water has chlorine. It will irritate your skin, and the chemically treated water will bleach your tattoo.

The tattoo colors might break, and germs may enter the skin. You should avoid swimming in oceans or other water bodies as the chances of infections are significantly higher with salts and unpurified water.

The Importance of After-Care Once You Get a Tattoo

The Importance of After-Care Once You Get a Tattoo

It is important to care for your tattoo after you have been inked. That is not only to protect the tattoo but also to take care of yourself. Tattoos cost a lot of money, especially if you seek the services of a top-rated and experienced tattoo artist.

Depending on how extensive and intricate your tattoo is, it could take hours to complete the session, and the artist will charge you a lot of money.

You do not want to ruin all that by being unmindful when caring for the tattoo. If you are not careful with the tattoo, the ink will run, the design will be ruined, and you will end up with a skin infection that will cost you treatment.

In addition, if you work out soon after getting a tattoo and stretch your skin, you will also increase the risk of scarring. The tattoo is a work of art on your body, and you will not want other scars over it that will ruin the look.

Hence, it is advisable to follow your tattoo artist’s instructions meticulously to retain the appearance of the tattoo and for your well-being. An experienced tattoo artist will tell you exactly how to care for it.

How to Care for Tattoo During Light Work Out?

Since extensive exertion and working out is not advisable after getting a tattoo, so you should only rely on light exercise and easy workout routines. And it is advisable to wait at least 72 hours before starting them and for at least two weeks for a proper workout after getting a tattoo. Even then, taking care of a few things would be best.

  • You should cover your tattoo lightly with a sleeve or tie a bandage around the tattoo. It will cover the tattoo and absorb any sweat you may have, even during your light exercise sessions.
  • Wash the tattoo with an anti-bacterial cleaning agent gently. You can ask your tattoo artist about it, and they will recommend the ones that best suit the kind of tattoo you have received.
  • You should wear sun-protective clothing for a walk or light jogging outdoors. Only pick or scratch unmindfully when outside, as it is easy to get distracted.


Working out makes you feel good about yourself and help you maintain a healthy body. And, of course, it is understandable that you would want to flaunt your newly-etched tattoo. The gym is the perfect place to show it off.

However, it is better not to hurry and give your body ample time to heal before showing it off to your best advantage. Rushing the process will only make you suffer from more pain, and it will take longer to get back to your former lifestyle. You don’t want your tattoo to start bleeding again from the stretching from a workout.

Hence, follow your artist’s advice and let the tattoo dry before you start exercising again.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!