Should You Work Out When Hungover? Or Skip a Day?

"UGH, why did I DO that last night?" Hopefully you don't have too many terribly hungover mornings to begin with, but for that few-times-a-year occasion, you'll be pleading for the cure. What about…working out? Should you work out when hungover?

should you work out when hungover

Now, I know you're expecting ME to say, "Yes, of course! You should always work out! Good workouts and diet are the answer to everything!"

And hey, they are the answer to just about everything: from inflammation caused by insulin resistance, to craving unhealthy food.

But, fine, you forced me to say it: workouts AREN'T appropriate in every situation. Like if you're hurt, sick, or…hungover.

Should you work out when hungover? No, because you're already extremely dehydrated!!

Now, there are plenty of people who will recommend a workout as the ultimate hangover cure. Mario Batali, for example, says that if you have a wicked hangover, force yourself to the gym, "exercise hard for 45 minutes and then shoot a beer, it's gone."

Sounds tempting, and you're probably…well, tempted.

Especially since Batali goes further to state that "a hangover is the poison lying in dehydrated areas. You need to sweat it out." So, should you work out when hungover? According to Batali, yes!!

Unfortunately, that's just not how it works. You can't "sweat out the dehydration"; that just makes the dehydration worse. But let me go a little deeper so you really know the underlying science here: when you drink, the portion that is not broken down is TOXIC to you and your body will do anything to get rid of that toxin. Pee it out, breath it out, sweat it out.

So as Mario would say, "Exactly! 'Sweat it out!'"

Not exactly. Because you're so dehydrated, sweating not only makes it worse, but the stress on your body drives up the level of creatine kinase and lactate that's in your blood. And again, I know you're thinking that creatine in your blood sounds like a good thing. I mean, creatine powder, right? But actually, while TAKING creatine to boost your muscle cells is good, having a high level of it in the bloodstream (which powder won't do, don't worry!) is bad. "Levels of [creatine] can rise after a heart attack, skeletal muscle injury, strenuous exercise, or drinking too much alcohol," says rochester.edu.

And sadly, says Dr. Damion Martins, Director of Orthopedics at Atlantic Health system, this can hurt your organs and also make your muscles very sore. (Like, TOO sore.)

Now, there's nothing wrong with doing a very light workout to refresh yourself and take your mind off the hangover, but DON'T SWEAT IT! As in, go for a walk instead of a jog; do yoga instead of strength training.

Also, please don't freak out if you thought that exercise was the best hangover cure. I'm not saying that doing it once is going to damage your internal organs or anything like that. I'm just saying that it's the ONE situation (pretty much) where I don't recommend exercise.

Then again, I don't recommend hangovers, either. Be more careful next time, kiddo!! 😉😉

About the Author Melissa

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