Hungover? Don’t move! Here’s 5 reasons why you should NEVER exercise while hungover

Dr Michael Mosley on the benefits of exercise

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If you’ve ever attempted to go for a run, attend a spin class or do any other form of exercise after a wild night out, you’ll know it isn’t pleasant. You might think you’re doing the best you can for your body after filling it with toxic alcohol the night before, but this isn’t the case. Apparently, you’re more likely to hurt yourself and drain yourself of hydration and energy, if you work out when hungover. chatted to the team at E-bikes Direct to find out why you should NEVER work out after drinking heavily the night before.

You might feel a little guilty about the damage done to your body after drinking, but exercise isn’t a magic wand.

You cannot really ‘sweat out’ a hangover, according to the team at E-bikes Direct who looked into the science behind exercise and hangovers.

They said: “Essentially, such a thought process is insinuating that you can secrete alcohol by means of sweat which (perhaps) unfortunately, happens only minimally.

“As little as 10 percent of the alcohol that your body hasn’t metabolised is debarred through sweat, breathing and excretion.”

Exercising while hungover won’t speed up your recovery and it could actually be dangerous. Here’s five reasons why.


Most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, and the consumption of alcohol is one of the quickest ways to dehydrate the body.

Alcohol is a toxin and acts as a diuretic by suppressing the production of the hormone Vasopressin, the body’s natural antidiuretic.

When you drink and Vasopressin is suppressed, you will likely go to the toilet more often than usual.

Why exacerbate this with a hot yoga class or any form of moderate to vigorous exercise?

The team explained: “Dehydration whilst working out is a sure-fire way to incur cramps and injury as the muscles tense and experience more strain than they are likely to be used to.

“In fact, tears, strains, and even fractured bones can all stem from dehydration post alcohol.”

No coordination

You may fall asleep faster after drinking alcohol due to the increase in the brain’s chemical adenosine, which is accountable for stimulating sleep, but its rapid decrease throughout the sleep cycles leads us to wake.

This means that when you’ve been drinking, the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of our sleep cycle is interrupted and this causes fatigue.

Exercising when fatigued is likely to throw off coordination which in turn, can cause injury.

The E-bike experts said: “Working out often relies on balance and coordination, making exercising whilst hungover a recipe for disaster.”

Too tired

Other than a poor night’s sleep, alcohol’s impact on your metabolism means you’ll grow tired far quicker from working out than if you hadn’t drank.

Once passed through the small intestine, alcohol makes its way to the bloodstream.

The body cannot store alcohol like sugar and carbs, so it makes its way to the liver to be processed.

Consequently, tension is inflicted upon the digestive system as the body attempts to access essential nutrients – it is here that the metabolism slacks.

Reduced access to essential nutrients inevitably has a negative impact on your workout and you are likely to grow tired far quicker than you may pre alcohol consumption, apparently.

Rest up when you’re hungover and come back fighting fit in the coming days.

High blood pressure

There’s a reason why the average Brit’s go-to hangover food is either a fry up or sweet treats.

Alcohol promotes the brain’s production of the chemical Galanin and this causes cravings of fatty foods that are laden with Omega 6.

While a greasy fry up might make you feel gym-ready on a hangover, high fat foods increase a rise in blood pressure, as does exercise.

E-bike’s experts said: “Doubling up on increased blood pressure can be dangerous and see light headedness, a prolonged increase in heart rate and even fainting.

“Research suggests taking a break from exercise up to two days after drinking alcohol.”

Camouflaged injuries

If you workout with alcohol in your system, you’re more likely to hurt yourself without realising.
Exercise releases the feel-good hormone, endorphins.

If you workout after drinking, the hit of endorphins along with increased oxygen to the brain can give a false sense of security with regards to how you are feeling.

For instance, it may temporarily camouflage any injuries that you may incur.

E-bike found that research suggests yoga, gentle stretches, Pilates, and working out on an electric bike as the safest post-drinking exercise regimes.

Weightlifting and extensive cardio requires extensive muscle repair, so are not suitable activities for a hangover.

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