Between all the holidays, spring break, office happy hours, and social gatherings, there’s a chance you might imbibe just a bit too much from time to time… which can make for a rough morning. Let’s face it, no matter how “fun” the night was… no one likes being hungover
So what do you do the next morning to right the ship and start to feel better? Do you lay in bed and try not to move? Do you get up and eat? Or maybe you try to drag your butt to the gym to sweat it out.
Can you sweat out a hangover to speed your recovery?
“Sweating it out” is something many people swear by. In fact, for many people in their 20-30’s, hitting the hottest HIIT class on weekend mornings has become as much a part of having a social life as drinking the night before. Others try to sweat out the drinks from the night before with a run or spending 20 minutes in the sauna because they feel too hungover to move. But are any of these techniques actually effective?
Answering that question comes down to how you define, sweating out alcohol. Can you physically sweat out alcohol so it doesn’t have a negative impact on your body?
No. Because when you drink, your body recognizes it as a toxin and sends it to the liver. But the liver can really only effectively metabolize about one drink per hour (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, shot of the hard stuff).
When your liver can’t keep up, it starts to oxidize (breaking down into smaller particles) the alcohol to excrete it through urine, sweat, and breathe. But you aren’t sweating out the alcohol per se, you are sweating out the by-products.
O and fun fact, this is why your sweat smells… why you can wake up with wicked breath… and your urine smells the morning after a night of drinking.
Does working out help cure a hangover?
Good question because exercising off a hangover is different than sweating out the alcohol to prevent negative effects from drinking.
There are a few important things you need to understand though before you hit your favorite boot camp, HIIT class, or the weights in the morning after imbibing.
Alcohol is a diuretic. Meaning you need to be very aware of dehydration. After a night of a few (or more) drinks, you’re probably dehydrated when you wake up. This happens from a combination of alcohol inhibiting the release of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone, and alcohol making you urinate more.
This leaves you dehydrated, low on electrolytes, and can lead to everything from sluggishness to nausea to a pounding headache!
Due to this, sweating out a hangover isn’t always the best idea and can actually make the hangover worse! Once again, because during the workout our time in the sauna you will be sweating … which will cause to more water and electrolyte loss.
That doesn’t mean a morning workout can’t make you feel better, though! Given the rejuvenating effects of exercise, including an increase in endorphins, it’s possible to feel better after a sweat session in the morning after a night of drinking! Shoot, I know when I get done with a CycleBar class or good morning workout, I personally feel better… most of the time ; ) haha.
If you do a workout the morning after drinking, just keep things reasonable and understand that your body will not be prepared for maximum output. Also, focus on adequate amounts of hydration to help offset the sweat, as well as keeping your internal organs running effectively as possible while processing the night before.
So what actually cures a hangover?
Another great question! There are anecdotal favorites such as breakfast burritos, Advil, hair of the dog, and so forth… but shoot, even as powerful and effective as Remedy is for helping to prevent a hangover, the only true … no questions asked… 100% guarantee to avoid a hangover is to not drink at all.
Now, that’s easy to say after a night of having one to many… but once the hangover symptoms go away, you likely will be singing a different tune.
So, before your next night out on the town, holiday party, or brunch with friends learn what can help prevent a hangover. That way you will be less likely to feel like garbage in the morning and can even have a better workout the next morning!
As always, if you do drink, don’t drive!
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.