Exercising on a hangover might seem like a foreign concept to many, whose ideal way to spend the morning after is to do nothing but watch Netflix from under the covers, but it’s not as rare as we might think.
Drinking and exercising is obviously an unlikely pairing, but one 2014 study found that on days when people exercise more – typically weekends – they also drink more alcohol, making a hungover workout all the more likely for many of us.
However, while working out after a night of drinking might seem like the best way to make up for the previous nights’ sins, it might not actually be the best idea.
“Unfortunately the old adage of ‘sweating out a hangover’ physiologically doesn’t seem to happen,” explains Ian Streetz, personal trainer at boutique boxing gym Kobox in London.
“A major problem with a hangover is of dehydration, and by attempting to sweat it out, further dehydration occurs.”
This can make exercising feel far more physically draining, due to the inevitable fatigue, body aches and possible nausea that accompanies the layman’s hangover.
Mila Lazaar, head of HIIT at London-based fitness studio Another_Space, explains that our bodies are more prone to tiredness during exercise due to low blood sugar.
“This can make out co-ordination worse, meaning we’re more likely to suffer an injury,” she tells The Independent.
Streetz adds that this could also be down to the way alcohol is digested in the body:
“The by-products of breaking down the alcohol in your body is excreted in sweat as a toxin,” he tells The Independent.
“This is released in higher concentration if the body is dehydrated, which can lead to cramps, strains and injury.”
Streetz adds that alcohol also lowers the rate of protein synthesis in the body, the biological process in which cells build new proteins, making it harder to build muscle and recover as effectively as you would normally.
Ultimately, this means that your post-party workout will be far less beneficial than usual and might actually be doing you more harm than good.
Obviously, it’s important to note that hangovers manifest themselves on a scale, ranging from sore head to sore everything, and while exercising in the former might not be so terrible, going for a full on weights session post-drinking is seldom a wise idea, despite what your drunken happy-go-lucky brain is telling you.
If you’re experiencing some of the more severe hangover-induced ailments – dizziness, shakiness, headaches and vomiting – a gym session should really be the last thing on your mind.