A Guide to Working Out With a New Piercing or Tattoo

Precautions When You're Healing From a Piercing or Tattoo

Rear view tattooed woman boxer listening to music with headphones in boxing ring at gym
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If you're wondering what effects exercise could have after getting a new tattoo or piercing, you've come to the right place.

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. Remember, a piercing constitutes a 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 the equipment before and after you use it so you aren't spreading your germs to others.

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 and exercise. This can be very 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 because there's no jiggling in the chest area. Weights and resistance exercise might also be a better choice, as long as the equipment doesn't rub the area of the piercing.

Also make smart choices about the kind of clothing you wear, such as a good sports bra to reduce bouncing and clothes that won't rub against other piercing sites. 

Advice for Swimmers

It's best to avoid swimming for an entire month after your piercing unless you can cover the entire area 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. Many pools today are foregoing the chlorine because of the toxins and using sea salt which can sting and burn a newly-pierced area.   

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 a secretion of fluids and that can be an entry point for bacteria. Plus, your body fluids shouldn't be shared with others. A tattoo is also a wound and needs to be protected. If you must hit the gym keep your tattoo covered with a gauze bandage. Follow all of your aftercare instructions for keeping your new piece of body art clean, moist, and protected from the sun.

If your tattoo is in an area that will be stretched or flexed a lot during a given exercise, it's best to put that exercise off for a few days. For example, running will flex and expand your calf muscles. This could be stressful for 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, so don't be shy about asking for guidance.