3.22.18: Hangover Workouts – Yes or No?
Waking up in pain after a few too many the night before. We’ve all been there… But should you hit the gym or the running trails with a hangover? The advice varies – and it depends on exactly how much pain you’re in…
Women’s Health says abso-freaking-lutely. “Exercising when you’re hungover helps you get rid of toxins from drinking,” says certified personal trainer Matthew Kornblatt, founder of RightFit Nation. “You just sweat everything out.” But you need to take extra precaution so that your hangover doesn’t halt your workout progress.
Eat a meal with carbs, like oatmeal plus some fruit, an hour before your workout to restore your energy, he says. A cup of coffee will help wake your body and fire up your metabolism. Most importantly, drink a ton of water before and during your workout: a hangover usually means your body is dehydrated and needs H20.
As for what to do once your shoes are laced, Kornblatt recommends steering clear of high-intensity interval training or super tough workouts like CrossFit. “That’s so much movement with so little rest that your body can’t recovery quickly, especially when you’re hungover,” says Kornblatt. Instead, do some steady-state exercises like an easy run on the treadmill. If you prefer weight training, feel free to lift—just tone down the reps and weight size to avoid overexerting yourself.
Glamour Magazine and Damion Martins, M.D., a sports medicine physician and the director of Executive Health, Orthopedics, and Sports Medicine at New Jersey’s Atlantic Health System, say you shouldn’t try this at home. “You cannot sweat out a hangover,” he says. “By trying to do so, you further dehydrate your body, leading to more detrimental effects.”
Martins explains why: After you drink alcohol, it’s broken down in your body to acetic acid. The remainder is excreted as toxin through your urine, breath, and sweat. When you sweat, the toxin is expelled from the body. The more dehydrated you are, the more concentrated the toxin becomes in your sweat.
While that sounds good in theory, Martins says it’s really not. “If you run while hungover, you are at a higher risk for muscle strains, cramps, muscle pulls, and electrolyte imbalances,” he says. “Alcohol affects your normal physiology, leading to increase levels of creatine kinase and lactate in your blood, which can have detrimental effects on other organs and may cause increased muscle soreness.” Basically, working out while you’re hungover can do more harm than good.
If you’re hungover, Martins says the best thing to do is to “aggressively hydrate.” He also recommends being wary of your caffeine intake (since it can make you pee more, further dehydrating you), especially at night. “The better quality sleep you’re able to obtain, the better you will feel in the morning,” he says.
If you find that you feel better post-drinking session with a little workout under your belt, keep it light (think: yoga, not a 5k) and drink more water than you think you’ll need. And, of course, the best way to beat a hangover is to prevent it from happening in the first place—a fact which you’re probably all too aware of when you’re totally hungover.
Have a green smoothie to ease your hangover and vow to make Flashfit a part of your fitness plan. Apps like Flashfit can help you effortlessly integrate activity into your busy day. This fun-to-use app provides aerobic and strength-building exercises in one-minute bursts that you can do anywhere, alone or with the Flashfit community. No special equipment needed – just your phone and positive vibes.
Sources: Glamour, Women’s Health, Daily Burn