Exercise is usually the last thing you think about when you're hungover. Usually your thoughts are more along the lines of "Why did tequila betray me again?" and "Will I be able to keep this piece of toast?" However, some people swear that a good workout will help them avoid a hangover, with the logic that they will "sweat out" their toxins at the gym.
However, this idea is more myth than scientific fact. There is no good evidence that exercising with a hangover helps you feel better. In fact, the opposite seems to be true, especially if you're trying to do a long run or an intense fitness class. You do not believe me? Check out these surprising side effects of working out with a hangover.
What happens when you're hungover and you exercise?
You will become even more dehydrated
Many hangover symptoms - such as headaches, exhaustion and thirst - are caused by mild dehydration. This is because alcohol consumption suppresses a hormone that helps regulate fluids, causing you to urinate more and lose more fluid. Therefore, forcing yourself to exercise when you're already dehydrated can make you feel worse.
You can hurt yourself
Drinking alcohol before bed can interrupt REM sleep, that is, the deep sleep cycles in which you rest better. This can occur to some degree no matter how much alcohol you drink. A 2018 study in JMIR Mental Health found that even low amounts of alcohol consumption can affect sleep quality.
Not getting enough sleep, in turn, can make you more prone to injury. Exercising when you are tired can increase your risk of injury. For example, hamstring injuries often occur when a tired person tries to sprint.
You're going to end up sore excessively
Hitting the gym too hard while you're hungover can also leave you feeling very sore. Because? Well, alcohol is technically a toxin, and your body has to work overtime to expel it from your body. This temporarily changes your body's normal processes to compensate. Alcohol affects your normal physiology, causing increased levels of creatine kinase and lactate in the blood, which can have detrimental effects on other organs and cause increased muscle pain.
You will also have less resistance
Even if you can get out of bed and onto the treadmill hungover, you probably won't get a great workout anyway. Basically, you can expect to have less endurance if you exercise while hungover. You may also not get the same beneficial results. However, gentler movement can help you feel better
Does exercise "make you sweat" a hangover?
No, the reason you may feel better after exercising with a hangover is NOT because of "sweating out the booze," but exercise causes a release of endorphins (often called the "feel-good" hormone) and also tends to to increase alertness (similar to a cup of coffee).
Is there an increased risk of injury when exercising while hungover?
Although there is no research examining the risks of exercising while hungover, with lack of sleep, decreased cognitive ability, and dehydration already placing a high degree of stress on the body, it could be extrapolated that exercising while hungover poses a greater risk of injury.
Our 6 tips for exercising with a hangover
1. Take it easy.
You may feel like punishing yourself after finishing that bottle all to yourself, but keep the session calm. In the case of runners, the pace of the race is easy, while in the case of athletes the loads of the session must be slightly reduced.
2. Stay hydrated
Alcohol dehydrates the body, so it is important to maintain fluid intake during the session. This is especially important for those exercising outdoors on a hot summer day.
3. Be realistic
For the various reasons outlined above, you are very unlikely to set personal bests, so don't put undue pressure on yourself to perform.
4. Don't complicate things
Coordination is often affected by a hangover, so do simple exercises. Activities that require a high degree of balance or skill (for example, Olympic lifting) are best done at another time.
5. Plan ahead
If you know you have a big night ahead, modify your schedule accordingly to have an easy/rest day afterwards.
6. Take a nap
Since sleep is often poor quality after a great night, don't be afraid to take a nap the next day to make up for lost time. Remember that the nap should be short (less than an hour) and do not sleep past 3 in the afternoon to prevent it from affecting your ability to fall asleep at night.
Should you exercise with a hangover?
Our vote is yes. But keep in mind the things we have noted above, schedule an easy session, which once completed will leave you feeling better than when you started. But if, despite drinking the night before, you want to go out and exercise hard, there is nothing better than NoWorriesRecovery, our hangover pills that, based on natural compounds, will make you enjoy the day after the party without problems.