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  • West London PT

Exercise With A Hangover: When And How To Do It

After a big night, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Luckily, we've got the easiest workouts to help you regain your mojo.

Young woman suffering from a hangover headache at the gym.

How Long Should I Wait To Exercise After Drinking Alcohol?

You should wait until you've had a good quality night of sleep before exercising after consuming alcohol. That's because alcohol can impair your coordination, balance, and reaction time, leaving you at increased risk of injury during exercise. One study showed that alcohol consumption increased perceived exertion during exercise, making it feel more difficult and uncomfortable.

Alcohol is also dehydrating. Exercising in a dehydrated state increases the risk of muscle cramps, nausea, lightheadedness and other complications.

Should You Exercise With A Hangover?

If you’re somewhat hungover, engaging in a gentle workout is generally safe. That being said, you should stay mindful of your body's signals and avoid straining yourself further. The more hungover you are, the gentler you need to be.

Alcohol consumption puts extra strain on your body, so you should avoid intense workouts that can further exacerbate your discomfort. If you opt for a tough workout while your body is already at reduced capacity, you may struggle to keep up with the demands of the workout and end up experiencing symptoms such as nausea, headaches and dizziness.

I'm Hungover: Should I Exercise Or Sleep?

Whilst light movement can certainly improve some hangover symptoms, there's no replacement for a good night's sleep. Your first priority should be rest, recovery and rehydration. However, if you've had plenty of sleep, engaging in a gentle form of workout can be one of the best ways to improve your mood and hit the 'reset' button.

The Best Hangover Workouts

You might think that you have to 'sweat the alcohol out', but there's no scientific evidence to suggest that happens. The reason most people feel their hangovers improve after exercise is the production of 'feel-good' endorphins, which can help alleviate some hangover symptoms.

Choosing gentle exercises, such as walking or yoga, remains manageable but still stimulates the release of these endorphins. They'll help kickstart your metabolism, burn fat, open your capillaries and get fluid in your joints. They also increase blood flow and oxygen supply to your muscles, easing headaches and soreness. Crucially, you can stay well hydrated as you practise them and improvise at a pace that suits you.

Hangover Workouts To Leave You Feeling Refreshed

Take A Walk

If you’re still feeling the effects of a night out, taking a walk is a simple and effective measure to ease the burden. You can adjust the pace and distance to suit your energy level, making it an ideal low-impact workout for when you're not feeling your best. Getting outside in the fresh air can also reduce nausea and lighten your mood

Go For A Swim

If you can bring yourself to get to the pool, swimming offers a full-body workout that massively reduces stress on the body and mind. The buoyancy of the water can support your joints and muscles, which is great for when you’re sporting bumps and bruises from a night out. Outside of that, swimming gets your heart rate up, your breath in sync and improves your mood.

Try Some Yoga

Mental and physical stress are closely connected, and yoga addresses both. The gentle stretches and movements can alleviate headache and muscle soreness, while the focus on deep breathing can improve oxygen flow to your body and reduce feelings of nausea. Yoga can be done intuitively and at your own pace, helping you get started and embrace a day you may have otherwise been dreading.

Take A City Bike Ride

Whilst bumps on a trail might not be ideal when you’re hungover, a gentle ride around the city offers fat-burning, cardiovascular and mood-boosting benefits. You get fresh air, and you can motivate yourself with stops for brunch, juice or a smoothie.

Woman standing next to a bicycle on a sunny day.

Lift Some Light Weights

Gentle strength training can mobilise underused muscles, leaving you feeling less tense and more balanced. The secretion of synovial fluid in your joints should leave you feeling less stiff and more grounded in the day. Make sure to use light resistance, even if you start to feel better.

Can A Personal Trainer Help?

If you're struggling to balance alcohol and fitness goals, you might benefit from some help. A personal trainer can help you by devising a programme that accounts for a night out whilst making the necessary adjustments for progress. You can reach out to me for a free consultation, and I'd be happy to offer some tips!


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