For keen gym-goers looking to get new artwork on their body, one of the first questions they ask is how long they’ll have to wait until they can safely return to their normal training routine post-tattoo.
The short answer is that most tattoo professionals recommend leaving it at least two to three days before returning to any kind of vigorous exercise due to the risk of infection and loss of ink.
This guide will take a further in-depth look at some of the risks of exercising too quickly after getting a tattoo, as well as a few of the best tips to keep in mind. We’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions.
1). Exercise Intensity – it’s a good idea to wait at least 48 hours before engaging in any kind of vigorous physical activity.
This is why tattoo artists advise against all gym and running-based workouts during the first few days of recovery, irrespective of the placement and size of the artwork.
2). Water – it’s also important to avoid swimming or any kind of exercise that’s water-related for around four to six weeks until the tattoo has completely healed.
3). Placement – while the placement of a tattoo isn’t too significant in terms of avoiding intense exercise over the first few days, it can matter further down the line.
For example, if you’ve just got a large tattoo on your thigh, you may be best doing some light stretches instead of going for a jog.
4). Sunlight – avoiding direct sunlight on a fresh tattoo is essential. This is because once a tattoo absorbs UV rays, the pigment starts to break down which can lead to faded coloration and blurred lines.
Why Is Waiting Important?
Giving your body sufficient time to recover after getting a tattoo is essential. This is because leaving a fresh tattoo uncovered can slow down the healing process, as well as increase the risk of infection.
With this in mind, we’ve listed below three of the main reasons why waiting to workout after a tattoo is so important.
1). Loss Of Ink
The fading and loss of ink might be rare considering that tattoos do a good job of holding their ink during the healing process, but there’s still the possibility that it can happen if you don’t look after your artwork during the early stages.
To aid the recovery process, make sure the tattoo is moisturized and kept away from water for extended periods of time. It’s also essential to avoid excessive sweating as this can cause the ink to leak out.
Once you’ve given your skin the time it needs to fully heal, you won’t have to worry about any ink bleeding out from the tattoo.
2). Fresh Wound
As is the case when caring for any regular cut on the body, a tattoo is a fresh wound and needs time to heal. Therefore, the more you look after your tattoo and nourish it, the quicker it’ll heal.
Unfortunately, working out is the opposite of nourishment. This is because sweat can cause itchiness and infection, which delays the recovery time and causes a fair amount of irritation on the tattoo.
3). Fitness Losses
If you return to your normal workouts too early without giving sufficient time for your tattoo to recover, there’s every chance that your concentration will be on your tattoo, not your fitness goals.
This can lead to a disconnected and ineffective workout which slows you down both physically and mentally.
Helpful Tips When Exercising With A Tattoo
After giving your tattoo at least 48 hours to heal, you can safely begin some forms of physical exercise. Listed below are five of the best tips to keep in mind to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to look after your tattoo.
1). Start by exercising slow and light – avoiding anything too strenuous until at least a week after receiving your tattoo
2). Regularly clean your tattoo and make sure you apply lotion or moisturizer to it before working out
3). If you’re using gym equipment, sanitize it thoroughly before use to prevent the risk of infection
4). Wear some baggy or loose clothing when working out to avoid rubbing and irritation
5). Clean your tattoo as soon as possible after completing your workout to remove any excess sweat
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you work out before getting a tattoo?
Yes, working out before getting a tattoo is completely safe. In fact, it’s probably a great idea to squeeze all of your workouts in prior to the tattoo, because you won’t be able to exercise for a few days afterwards.
Just keep in mind that the area you’re getting the tattoo should be injury-free and soreness-free. If you’re sore in a particular area, there’s a higher chance that you’ll tense up, which makes the recovery process a little more painful.
So, if for example, you’re getting a tattoo on your chest, you might want to take a couple of days off from those heavy bench-press reps.
Can I run with a fresh tattoo?
If you’re an avid runner and you’ve just received a tattoo, it’s important to wait for up to a week before returning to your normal training routine.
This is because running moves pretty much every part of your body so it doesn’t necessarily matter which part of your body the tattoo is – it’ll move.
If you don’t want to lose all of your fitness goals, you don’t have to quit exercising altogether. Instead, you can do a number of other exercises in place of running. For example, walking every day and stretching in the morning are suitable alternatives.
How long after a tattoo can I shower?
If you’re looking to shower the rest of your body without directly washing your tattoo, you can safely do it around three to four hours after the tattoo artist has wrapped your artwork.
Just make sure you avoid soaking the tattooed area for at least two weeks and wash off any soap immediately.
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