A Guide to Exercising With a Hangover


Ah, the hangover – The dreaded prize after one too many drinks. Unfortunately, there's no miracle cure for hangovers, but staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and perhaps a vitamin boost can alleviate some of the unwanted symptoms. Painkillers and a cup of coffee might help you feel more alert and address other symptoms, albeit only in the short term.

But what about exercise? While some people prefer to spend their hangover on the couch, eating takeout and binge-watching Netflix, others opt for an exercise session to 'sweat out' the previous night's excesses.

The big question is, which is better? Let's dive into this and more...

Is It Okay to Exercise with a Hangover?

Whether or not it's okay to exercise with a hangover depends on a few factors, primarily the severity of your hangover. If you’re feeling nauseous and likely to need the bathroom during your workout, it’s best to rest and recover. Your body will be feeling run down, so you'll need your energy to get better. However, if you’re just dealing with a mild headache and some tiredness but can still move around comfortably, light exercise might be okay—just avoid anything too strenuous.

Factors to consider if you're thinking about exercising with a hangover include:

Hydration Levels: Alcohol dehydrates you, and your body needs water to function properly. Dehydration not only makes you feel terrible but also hampers your performance in the gym and disrupts your body's normal functioning. A heavy workout could leave you sweating and even more dehydrated. Ensure you're fully hydrated before exercising—your urine should be clear, which is a good indicator.

If you go to the gym, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you're a Plus member, top up with Yanga water for additional vitamins and electrolytes.

How Tired You Are: While alcohol might help you fall asleep and sleep deeply at first, it disrupts the later and deeper stages of sleep, which are crucial for your well-being. If you're feeling exhausted, you could be more prone to injury at the gym, and exercise could put extra stress on your already tired body. If you’re wiped out, a nap might be more beneficial.

Are You Still Drunk?: Alcohol can stay in your system for hours after your last drink, and you might wake up still feeling tipsy. It takes about one hour for one unit of alcohol to leave your body, so four pints of beer (about two or three units each) will take over eight hours to clear. This varies based on factors like gender, food intake, drinking speed, and weight. If you still feel the effects of alcohol, avoid the gym.

Does Exercise Help a Hangover?

Some people claim they can 'sweat out' a hangover by exercising, or that it helps heal the hangover. While there's no evidence that exercise speeds up hangover recovery, moving your body releases endorphins (the happy hormone), which can make you feel better. Additionally, getting fresh air by going for a walk might help clear your head.

Is It Better to Exercise or Sleep Off a Hangover?

The best approach depends on how you're feeling and the severity of your hangover. One of the best recovery strategies is to consume nutritious, protein-rich foods, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of rest. If you feel up for it and the alcohol is out of your system, light exercise can help you feel better.

What Are the Best Exercises to Do with a Hangover?

If you’re still feeling tipsy, tired, nauseous, or dehydrated, avoid high-energy workouts like heavy weight lifting, HIIT, or bootcamp. These can increase your risk of injury and dehydration, making you feel worse.

Once you’re feeling well enough, gentle exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, or a light jog can keep your body moving without worsening the hangover.

Here are some workouts to try with a hangover:

Mobility Stretches and Light Movements: Eases tension and stiffness. Go for a Walk: Enjoy the benefits of exercise without overdoing it. Gentle Resistance Band Workout: Work your muscles easily from home. Relaxing Yoga Class: Experience the psychological and physical benefits of yoga.

Once you’ve fully recovered, you can return to your regular gym routine. If you're not already a member, find a Pure Fitness near you and take advantage of our excellent range of gym equipment, fitness classes, and expert personal trainers.

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