Can a Workout Help a Hangover?

We all know that working out can help improve our overall health, but can it also help with a hangover? Let’s take a look at the science to see if there’s any truth to this claim.


Hangovers can leave you feeling lethargic and drained, but is it possible that a workout can help you get over your hangover faster? As many people know, exercise can be an effective method for managing stress, but could the same apply to hangover fatigue? While the idea of working out with a hangover may seem daunting and maybe even unappealing, there is research to suggest that it could be beneficial. In this article, we’ll look at the potential benefits of exercising after drinking, as well as how best to approach your post-alcohol workout routine.

Causes of Hangover

Hangovers are a result of drinking too much alcohol in one sitting. The symptoms of a hangover include tiredness, dehydration, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Hangovers are caused by alcohol disrupting the body’s normal functions. Dehydration, changes in blood sugar levels, and changes in the hormones, cortisol and vasopressin, can all contribute to hangover symptoms. Now let’s dive into the causes of hangover in more detail.


Dehydration is one of the primary causes of hangovers and is often caused by consuming alcohol faster than your body can absorb it. The alcohol tends to increase the production of urine, in turn causing an imbalance in the electrolyte levels in your body. This imbalance results in dehydration and leaves you feeling very thirsty and weak. Regularly drinking water throughout the night can help reduce feelings of dehydration, however, having a good workout after drinking can also help rehydrate your body quickly. Exercise increases blood flow throughout your body and as a result increases water intake helping to draw out excess toxins from alcohol consumption. This helps to speed up the recovery process by speeding up dehydration as well as any other damage caused by excess alcohol consumption.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is one of the main causes of a hangover. When the body metabolizes alcohol, it interferes with the normal processing of sugars in the system. In order to counteract this, many people try to pair any alcoholic beverages with food and ensure they consume it at regular intervals throughout their night out, so their body can slowly metabolize all substances equally. Although this may help reduce an alcohol-induced hangover, if someone does not take these precautions when drinking it can lead to low blood sugar symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, hunger and confusion when waking up after a night out. Exercise can help to restore these levels back to those that existed prior to alcohol consumption by triggering an increased release of glucagon hormone which aids in regulation of blood glucose levels. Light exercise such as walking or stretching not only helps you feel more alert post-hangover but also helps prevent further adverse symptoms from occurring.

Alcohol Metabolism

Hangover symptoms are caused by the body’s reaction to alcohol. As alcohol is metabolized and broken down, several byproducts, such as acetaldehyde and other toxic substances, can be produced. These toxic substances can cause a hangover by altering the way the body normally processes other compounds or disrupting the levels of electrolytes in the bloodstream. The most common symptoms experienced during a hangover often result from dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, headache, increased sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.

To reduce these effects, it’s essential to understand how alcohol is metabolized so that proper precautions can be taken before consuming alcohol. Alcohol metabolism occurs in two stages: absorption into the bloodstream which happens in the stomach and small intestine; and oxidation which takes place in the liver with an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). ADH breaks down ethanol (the type of alcohol found in drinks) into acetaldehyde which is then further broken down into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can cause irritation or damage to many parts of your body including your heart, lungs and digestive tract. This process may take several hours for all of the ethanol to be oxidized so this time frame should be taken into consideration when trying to avoid a hangover. Taking steps to rehydrate prior to consuming alcoholic beverages may help prevent some of the common symptoms associated with a hangover like headaches, nausea or fatigue.

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can bring many health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, better weight management, and better mental wellbeing. Exercise is also an important part of recovering from a hangover. Not only can exercise help to reduce the physical symptoms of a hangover, but it can also help to improve your energy levels and reduce the mental fog that often accompanies a hangover. Let’s explore the benefits of exercising after a night of drinking.

Improved Blood Circulation

Research has suggested that exercise can help improve blood circulation and reduce the effects of a hangover. During exercise, there’s an increase in heart rate which causes increased blood flow. With increased circulation, oxygenated blood is pumped to the various parts of the body to facilitate better functioning. This improved blood circulation helps flush out toxins from your system, easing the symptoms of a hangover.

Regular exercise also helps boost immunity by increasing endorphin production and raising overall energy levels. Moreover, it helps distract from the uncomfortable feeling that comes with a hangover by creating a dopamine-induced euphoric feeling of being temporarily “high” on life – resulting in an overall improved mood. As physical activity leads to better endorphin production, this reduces stress on your body making it easier for your system to fight off sickness like headaches and nausea during a hangover.

Increased Endorphin Release

Exercise has been scientifically linked to the release of endorphins, which are hormones that create feelings of euphoria-like effects. This can help to counteract the physical discomforts associated with a hangover, such as nausea, fatigue and headaches. Additionally, increased endorphin production from exercise can help improve your overall mood. After engaging in some form of physical activity, many people report feeling more energized, positive and even optimistic. This can be particularly helpful if you’re feeling the mental or emotional effects of a hangover such as guilt or depression.

Additionally, exercise has long been associated with improved cognitive performance and concentration levels. Your body releases natural stimulants during physical activity that are beneficial in helping you stay awake and alert — two important aspects when dealing with a hangover. Furthermore, exercise increases your heart rate which helps to boost blood flow throughout the body — providing crucial nutrients needed for cell rejuvenation and healing. Also beneficial is that engaging in physical activity forces one to drink more water (if sweating) in order to remain hydrated which is important for quickly flushing out toxins caused by alcohol consumption.

Improved Metabolism

Exercise is an effective way to improve your metabolism, which plays an important role in the way your body breaks down and uses food. Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories afterwards. When it comes to alcohol metabolism, regular exercise can also increase the speed at which your liver is able to break down toxins and alcohol. By keeping yourself active throughout the day and engaging in regular physical activity, you will be better equipped to process alcohol when it does enter your system. In addition, regular exercise helps your body utilize oxygen more efficiently so that cells can recover faster after a night of drinking.

Workouts to Try

After a night of drinking, many people turn to exercise in an attempt to nurse their hangover. It’s important to note that a hangover is the result of dehydration and alcohol consumption, so it can be helpful to replenish your body with fluids. This article will explore some of the best workouts to help reduce hangover symptoms and get you feeling better.

Light Cardio

Light cardio is a good way to get your body moving, regain some energy and reduce stress levels after a night of overindulging. It is important to note, however, that while light aerobic exercises can help you shake off the fog of an alcohol hangover, it will not cure the physical effects of alcohol. As such, it’s best to be cautious and take breaks if needed.

Light cardio workouts involve low-impact exercises such as walking or jogging on a flat surface for 30 minutes or less and avoiding strenuous activities that involve jumping or running up a hill. Yawning can often indicate how hard you are working – if your movements are accompanied by frequent yawns then you need to slow down and focus on breathing during your workout. Going for short walks during breaks from work can also provide relief from the clouds of an alcohol hangover by getting your adrenaline levels up enough to kick start the endorphins associated with feeling better.

Strength Training

Strength training, which is also referred to as resistance training, uses weights, bands or your own body weight to work your muscles. The goal of strength training is to increase muscle mass and endurance, promote core stability and ultimately improve overall health. If you’re feeling the effects of a hangover, strength training can be an effective solution by helping to rid your body of the toxins left behind in the form of lactic acid in muscles.

Strength training is typically performed with weights ranging from 1-20 pounds and consists of three main types: aerobic (high intensity cardio exercises like running), anaerobic (weight lifting) and core (mat exercises which focus on abdominal muscles).

To begin a strength-training fitness routine for a hangover, it’s important to understand the potential risks associated with working out when dehydrated. Any type of exercise has its risks—especially if you are not well hydrated before beginning—so ensure that you drink plenty of water prior to starting your workout. Additionally, start slowly with lightweight exercises such as bicep curls or toe taps and gradually increase the challenges over time as your body adjusts. It’s important to remember not to stress or strain any specific muscle group too much at once; keep it light but progressive.


Yoga is an excellent way to re-energize your body when you’re feeling under the weather. With easy, gentle stretching and breathing, you can help move toxins out of your body and release some of the tension caused by dehydration and inflammation. You could opt for a simple, gentle stretching practice like yin or restorative yoga or try a more active practice like vinyasa or power yoga. Seek experienced teachers to ensure correct alignment so there is less risk of injury. If a group class doesn’t sound appealing enough when you feel sick, simply watch a video at home to encourage yourself to get moving. Setting up your own practice will also make it easier to adjust the intensity as needed—listen to your body and don’t push too hard!


In conclusion, short, moderate-intensity exercise during a hangover can potentially improve symptoms and accelerate your recovery time. Exercise during this time can be a helpful way to clear the head, bolster energy levels and regulate hormones by increasing endorphins. That said, studies looking specifically at this connection have had mixed results. So if possible it is best to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol that will lead to a hangover the next day. Additionally it is important to note that resting and hydrating are also great strategies for recovering from a hangover that may be more beneficial than exercise depending on one’s personal situation. Finally, as always when beginning any new type of physical activity it is important to consider one’s health status and start slowly in order to prevent potential injuries or strains.

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