Healing: Working Out with a New Piercing or Tattoo

Precautions When You're Healing from a Piercing or Tattoo

Is it recommended to keep working out at the gym if you have a new piercing or tattoo? What effect could exercise have on healing for body art?

Piercing Healing and Exercise

As long as you're keeping your piercing clean, it should not be harmed by your workout routine. Sweat can, however, irritate a piercing and introduce germs and bacteria into the wound. It's important that you shower and clean the piercing well after your workout is complete.

Also, if you are sharing equipment with others, disinfect it before and after using it so you aren't sharing germs.

It's best to avoid swimming in the month after your piercing unless you can cover it with a waterproof bandage. If you just can't stay out of the pool, be sure to clean your piercing immediately after swimming. Swimming in natural bodies of water carries the highest risk of infection, but even chlorinated pools can still be a source of germs.

The location of the piercing may also be an issue. While pierced ears might only experience some salty sweat, a belly button piercing or nipple piercing may experience rubbing from the motions you use during exercise. You may experience breast bounce when you're running or doing aerobic forms of dancing. This can be irritating. The same is true if your clothing rubs against piercings anywhere on your body.

You may want to choose exercises that won't result in the repetitive motions and rubbing in the area of the piercing.

Cycling might be a better choice than running for not resulting in a jiggling chest. Weights and resistance exercise might also be a better choice, so long as they don't rub the area of the piercing. Also choose your clothing with this in mind, such as a good sports bra to reduce bouncing and clothes that won't rub against other piercing sites.

New Tattoos and Exercise

It's best to skip the gym for a day or two after getting a new tattoo. During that time, there may be bleeding or weeping of serous fluid and that can be an entry point for bacteria. Plus, your body fluids shouldn't be shared with others. A tattoo is a wound, it needs to be protected. Keep it covered with a gauze bandage if you must hit the gym. Follow all of your aftercare instructions for keeping it clean, moist, and protected from the sun.

If the tattoo is in an area that will be stretched or flexed a lot during a given exercise, it's best to put that off for a few days. For example, running will flex and expand your calf muscles. This could be stressful to the new tattoo. Choose exercises that won't result in working the muscles next to the tattoo or flexing a joint that has a new tattoo. Your tattoo artist may have recommendations as well.