Why You Should Think Twice Before Working Out Hungover

If you overindulged on Friday, should you still head out for your long run on Saturday morning, despite a pounding headache and a churning stomach? While some mild exercise might help alleviate symptoms of a hangover, too much can actually make the situation worse. 

"Unfortunately the old adage of 'sweating out a hangover' physiologically doesn't seem to happen," personal trainer Ian Streetz told The Independent, adding, "A major problem with a hangover is of dehydration, and by attempting to sweat it out, further dehydration occurs.

In addition to dehydration, alcohol can also cause electrolyte imbalance in the body — a balance that is critical if you're exercising hard — and can have other gastrointestinal effects ranging from slowed digestion to nausea (via The Cleveland Clinic). And of course, there's the practical risk that comes with being impaired when working out, so if you wake up the morning after sipping one too many cocktails and still feel fuzzy, your strength training workout could be dangerous (via Healthline).

What should you do instead?

Start by rehydrating. If you're able to drink an electrolyte beverage or coconut water before going to bed, that will help you wake up feeling less under the weather. In the morning, sip water, fruit juice, or an electrolyte-infused sports drink to help bring your body back into balance. And while you may feel as though you never want to eat again, if you want to get up and moving by the afternoon, try to snack on something bland, like white rice, toast, or crackers (via the Mayo Clinic).

Then, rather than heading to your bootcamp workout as planned, it might be a good idea to spend your hungover morning in a lower-intensity way. If you're feeling up for it, consider doing a yoga video at home or heading out for a walk. Just make sure you're wearing sunglasses to avoid the sun's bright rays burning your eyeballs! Alternatively, going back to sleep is a Mayo Clinic-recommended option for moving past your hangover as efficiently as possible, so feel free to sleep it off.

Luckily, the symptoms of a hangover generally are gone within a day, so you'll be back to your high-intensity interval training soon enough.