On a beach day in July with friends, I swore I would do two things before the summer comes to an end: get my first tattoo and me for a half marathon Sign in .
I did not know that these two goals would conflict until my roommate alerted me to something else. I wanted to stick to my training schedule, but it was also important to me that my tattoo healed well, so I effortlessly spent three hours on the internet looking for an answer.
Most well-known tattoo artists suggest that people refrain from training for the first 2 weeks of healing because the tattoo is the most sensitive. If you have noticed that your skin is still red and warm after dyeing, your body will still activate the immune system response. A tattoo is technically a wound, and you do not want to push your body while it heals.
"We strongly advise against undertaking strenuous activities that cause friction and sweat on the tattoo, as this can damage the tattoo article that is at risk of irritation," says Maggie Stockman, studio manager, Welcome Home Studio in NYC. "[This] slows down the healing process."
If you can not get by without training for a week and look for green light then this is not the place.
According to Dr. med. Evan Rieder, assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, is uneven on how quickly you can get back to work because there is not much evidence-based literature.
There are also many differences of opinion regarding the role of sweat in the healing process, says Rieder. However, the main concern is still bacteria.
"Gyms are notorious for picking up bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that cause superficial skin infections. Training is likely to play a role in microbial stress from fitness equipment, direct trauma from tattooing, and extreme overstretching of muscles that could theoretically deform a tattoo.
That does not mean you should stop exercising, and while Stockman recommends waiting for 1 to 2 weeks, she also says, "Keep your exercise routine to a minimum and maybe take a long walk instead!" Think about what type of tattoo you have before you start training again, whether shortened or not, handpicked or sat under a machine for 2 hours, is it big, is it on your upper body or on your forearm? ?
"Hand-stitched tattoos usually heal a little faster than machine tattoos, as injecting the ink into the skin is less invasive and traumatic," says Stockman.
For Rieder, however, the depth of the tattoo needle is more important. And depth is important when it comes to the placement, size, and detail of your tattoo.
"[Do the workout] This distracts the focus from the muscle group below the the tattoo is sitting, "says Rieder. "In general, it's best to be gentle with tattoos, avoid direct trauma, and expand on the tattoo itself."
While smaller tattoos heal faster, all tattoos hate friction, which can be the downfall of the healing process.  It turned out that all I had to do to keep up with the half marathon plan (after I had waited a week to be safe) was to make sure my inner arm was not on my body or rubbed my clothes. It was awkward, but I did it!
If you're out of training and your first two weeks have not passed, follow this rule to train safely: avoid exercising the muscles under your tattoo.  Adhere to the following basic rules during training:
- Do not over-exert yourself and do not concentrate on the muscle area under your tattoo.
- Wear a shirt and / or have your tattoo covered at all times to keep bacteria out of the gym.  Friction is not your friend: Make sure your movements do not cause your tattoo to rub against your clothing or other areas of your body.
- Follow your follow-up plan and wash your tattoo before and after your sweat session!  Izzie Ramirez is a New York City-based reporter specializing in protest reporting, immigration, and city news. Follow her on Twitter .