How Long Should You Wait To Workout After Getting A Tattoo?

How Long Should You Wait To Workout After Getting A Tattoo

You just got a permanent tattoo, and now you wonder can you work out after getting a tattoo.

Usually, it is not advised to begin working out after getting a tattoo. The tattoo artist recommends waiting for at least 48-72 hours before starting any strenuous physical activity that may cause heavy sweating. 

The normal healing time for a tattoo is typically 10-14 days. Your skin needs a little time to heal before resuming specific heavy workouts.

Why Does A Tattoo Require Time To Heal? 

Tattoo Is A Wound

A tattoo is a form of art made in the body parts by inserting tattoo ink, dye, or pigment into the body. It could be either permanent or temporary and is done with the help of a sterilized needle by a specialized tattoo artist. 

Permanent Vs Temporary Tattoo

If it is a permanent tattoo, the tattoo artists strictly ask to follow every aftercare instruction to reduce chances of infection and speed up the healing process. Avoiding water application to the tattooed area for the first few days, and preventing excessive sweating is essential.

Tattoo location 

While it’s a general instruction to avoid exercise just after getting a tattoo, tattoo’s location can also decide when to start. For instance, if the tattoo is on your torso, knee, or elbow, it will take a day or two more than usual. It is because the skin stretches in certain movements in the workout and a fresh tattoo could easily be stretched and distorted.

Is It Safe To Work Out After Getting A Tattoo?

Is it safe to work out after getting a tattoo

The answer to this question depends on a few unique factors because the gym is not a friendly place for fresh ink. A tattoo is an open wound, so it is better to start slowly to allow the skin to heal properly. 

However, we can start working out slowly by taking a few preventive measures such as:

  • Wash the tattoo soon after getting sweaty.
  • Leave the bandage on for a minimum of 5-6 hours.
  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun and apply sunscreen to the tattooed part of the body.
  • Always apply a thin layer of medicated ointment given by the tattoo artist.

Tips To Working Out With A Fresh Tattoo

If you can’t wait for 10-14 days for a tattoo to heal completely and want to hit the gym due to some medical or personal reasons, here’s what you can do to prevent tattoo’s degradation-

1. Wear Breathable Clothes 

Select loose-fitting and light clothes to let the new tattoo on the skin breathe. Tight and non-breathable garments are not recommended as they rub against the tattoo and create friction, which can irritate.

2. Wash And Sterilize 

Wash (with a gentle cleanser) or sanitize the tattoo immediately after the workout to avoid the buildup of sweat, dirt, and bacteria. It would be a problem if sweat sits on your fresh tattoo for too long.

3. Avoid Stretching Exercises 

Do not indulge into stretching workouts, especially around the tattoo area. It can tear the wounded area and impair the healing process. Instead, do some light exercise or exercise that does not include stretching or movement of that part.

4. Sanitize Gym Equipment

Sanitize all the equipment in the gym before you use it, and try to avoid direct contact with the tattoo with the floor of the gym, exercise mat, and other equipment to save it from any bacterial infection.

5. Do Not Exercise Under The Sun

Avoid working out directly under the sun because if the healing tattoo is exposed to the ultraviolet rays from the sun, it can cause a scab over the tattoo. That is why keeping your fresh tattoo out of the sun for at least two weeks is essential.

Besides, it is advised to cover the fresh tattoo with a breathable adhesive bandage, which should limit your exposure to dirt and bacteria. Also, in case of any concern, consult your tattoo artist and follow whatever after-care instructions he provides.  

Exercises After Getting A Tattoo- What To Do And What To Avoid?

It is best to avoid a few exercises or movements related to workout. For instance, the workouts or sports that require skin contact should be avoided entirely such as, the martial arts like Jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, wrestling, etc.

Beside this, here are a few more instructions:



Swimming should be avoided for at least two weeks following a new tattoo. It is not advised to soak the tattooed area in water for too long. The pools are usually treated with chemicals that can harm the new tattoo and cause irritation and infection. At the same time, swimming in natural bodies like lakes and oceans can contaminate the wound.


You can start yoga and other stretching workouts the next day after getting the tattoo. However, ensure to avoid stretching the tattooed part of the body, which can impair the healing process.


Doing plank should be avoided if you have a tattoo on your forearm. It could get rubbed against the yoga mat, and also, the infection from the yoga mat can cause infection to the fresh tattoo.


For weightlifting, you can wait until the next day after getting a tattoo. It is advised to avoid intense workout for that part of the body where you freshly got a tattoo. Remember to sanitize and clean the equipment you use for weightlifting.


Even if you are not allowed to work out after your new tattoo with a specific size or placement issue, you can still enjoy walks and breathing exercises to compensate for your missed gym.

Depending on your tattoo, a wait of 2-3 days or more is considerable. It is better to stay safe and healthy than get an infection or further complications. 

Keeping up a couch potato for a few days before resuming your typical exercise routine is safe. The fear of disease or messed up tattoo shape and color is not worth taking the risk, while you could play safe and let it rest for the recommended period. Always practice properly after and while working out; if it hurts or stings, immediately back out and take a break.

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