Does Working Out Really Help with a Hangover?

If you’ve ever had a hangover, you know that working out is the last thing you want to do. But does it really help?


It is a common misconception that working out after a night of drinking is beneficial for curing a hangover. After a night spent drinking alcoholic beverages, many people opt to hit the gym the next morning in order to prevent and reduce the effects of a hangover. While physical activity will certainly not hurt during this time, it may not have the desired outcome either. In fact, the exercise can make certain symptoms worse while failing to alleviate other symptoms all together.

To understand fully whether or not exercise affects hangovers, it is important to first discuss what happens when alcohol enters our body and how it affects us physically. Alcohol is made up of ethyl alcohol or ethanol which breaks down quickly in our liver and can be expelled through urine, sweat and respiration. When alcohol enters our body, we experience multiple effects on both cognitive ability as well as physical performance. The body immediately begins absorbing ethanol at an accelerated rate; this process slows down when it reaches its peak levels in the bloodstream which usually occurs an hour after alcohol consumption ceases. Our bodies then metabolize the ethanol using enzymes; this process produces acetaldehyde and carbon dioxide which both contribute to unpleasant hangover symptoms such as nausea or dizziness.

Physiological Effects of Exercise

When it comes to working out after a night of drinking, there is both good and bad news. On the one hand, it can be beneficial for the body to get some exercise as it can help reduce underlying inflammation, release endorphins, and aid in circulation. On the other hand, there are some physiological effects that may make working out after a hangover less than desirable. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of exercise when you have a hangover.

Benefits on the Cardiovascular System

Many of the physical benefits associated with exercise are due to its positive impact on the cardiovascular system. Regular exercise helps to build strong and healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and can have a direct effect on improving circulation throughout the body. It can help to lower blood pressure which reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other forms of heart disease. Exercise can also improve cholesterol levels, promote a healthy weight, increase energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve sleep patterns and help to reduce overall inflammation in the body.

When it comes to alleviating hangovers after drinking alcohol excessively, engaging in exercise can help. It causes increased heart rate which can accelerate the release of alcohol from the bloodstream faster than normal. Exercise increases endorphins which helps raise mood levels and make it easier to tackle some of the negative symptoms resulting from hangovers such as vomiting or headaches. Combined with hydration efforts before going to bed after a night out drinking as well as consuming adequate carbohydrates upon waking up will all aid in relieving hangover symptoms faster than without exercising or attempting any sort of self-care treatment.

Effects on the Endocrine System

Regular exercise — meaning at least three times per week of aerobic activities and three times per week of strength training — stimulates hormones including growth hormones and testosterone, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). These hormones are responsible for helping you become stronger, building muscle mass and aiding in the repair of damaged muscles. Growth hormone released during exercise encourages cartilage repair, bone growth and metabolism. Exercise also helps reduce stress-related cortisol levels by reducing its production.

Endorphins — “brain chemicals” — released during exercise contribute to elevated moods that can improve feelings of well-being, as reported by certified trainer from ACE Josh Anderson. Endorphins act as natural painkillers, reducing sensitivity to pain and can even act as natural sedatives to help reduce anxiety. Additionally endorphins have been reported to have an antidepressant effect after an aerobic workout.

Effects on the Nervous System

Regular physical activity is known to have a number of beneficial effects on the nervous system. During physical activity, the brain releases hormones known as endorphins which can help reduce stress, induce relaxation and provide a sense of well-being. Regular exercise also increases blood flow to the brain which helps support cognitive functioning. Exercise may help alleviate headaches associated with hangover by stimulating natural processes that reduce inflammation. Furthermore, research suggests that regular physical activity may have positive impacts on mood and motivation — providing further relief from hangover symptoms!

Psychological Effects of Exercise

Exercise can have an extraordinary impact on our mental health, for a variety of reasons. It can provide us with an escape from our daily stresses and anxieties, it can help us to clear our minds, and it can even give us a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. But how can exercise help us when it comes to a hangover? Let’s explore the psychological effects of exercise on a hangover.

Improved Mood

Exercise has been found to have positive psychological effects, including improving mood. Exercise releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers accountable for the so-called ‘runners high’. Endorphins have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing relaxation and feeling of well-being.

Studies have also demonstrated that exercise helps improve cognitive performance, making it beneficial for students with exams or individuals trying to maximize their productivity in a professional environment. In addition, exercise can help improve sleep quality, leading to improved concentration during the day.

One way to take advantage of these psychological benefits is to incorporate regular physical activity into daily life with activities such as walking or jogging on lunch breaks or biking in place of driving to work. Even brief bursts of low-intensity activity a few times in a day can produce improvements in mental health as well as an overall sense of well-being. Track your movement throughout the day with an activity tracker such as a Fitbit and make sure you are getting enough physical exercise to reap the rewards!

Improved Cognitive Function

Exercise can have a positive effect on your cognitive function, specifically concerning your focus, decision-making and productivity. Such improvements are likely a result of the endorphin release that exercise produces. Endorphins interact with opioid receptors in your brain and spinal cord to reduce pain perception while also boosting your sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Improved cognitive processing has been linked to better multitasking skills, concentration levels and an improved ability to compare alternatives faster. Additionally, moderate or even short bursts of physical exercise can enhance creativity by increasing the number of connections between the left and right sides of your brain. As such, when it comes to taking care of a hangover, exercise could play an important role in making you feel better through enhanced cognitive processing.

Increased Self-Esteem

It’s no secret that physical exercise can have positive effects on your emotional wellbeing. One of the primary psychological benefits is increased self-esteem, which can include improved body image, positive feelings about yourself and your abilities, improved self-confidence and feelings of capability for success. Exercise is a great way to combat negative thoughts related to depression and anxiety as well as boost your overall mood. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology states that just 15 minutes of aerobic exercise each day can already lead to significant improvements in mental wellbeing. It may also help regulate emotions by releasing endorphins, making it easier to manage hangover stress.

Benefits of Exercise on Hangovers

When it comes to dealing with a hangover, you may think that the best course of action is to just sleep it off. But did you know that exercising during or after a night of drinking can help to relieve your symptoms? Let’s explore the benefits of exercise on a hangover and how it can help you feel better.

Improved Hydration

Regular exercise positively affects a hangover in several ways, starting with improved hydration. When we exercise, the body burns through electrolytes and fluids at a much higher rate than it does when we are resting. To prevent dehydration, it is essential to replenish our bodies by drinking plenty of fluids before and after engaging in physical activity. As alcohol has the opposite effect — blocks the absorption of water — drinking ample amounts of water helps hydrate your body quicker, bringing important vitamins and minerals back into balance which can help improve hangover symptoms like dry mouth and fatigue.

Improved Blood Flow

Exercising increases blood flow throughout the body. When recovering from a hangover, improved blood flow is essential to assisting in the removal of toxins such as acetaldehyde that can build up in your bloodstream. Through increased physical activity, dilated blood vessels are able to clear the impurities more quickly and deliver nutrients that can help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Other benefits associated with improved circulation include increased energy and alertness which can also be beneficial when trying to recover from a night of drinking.

Improved Metabolism

One of the ways exercise can help deal with a hangover is by increasing your metabolism. When you drink alcohol, the body has to work extra hard to process the toxin and metabolize it, depleting the necessary energy stores needed for normal bodily processes. Exercise helps to restore these energy stores by improving your metabolism and enhancing your body’s ability to burn fat more efficiently. This increases the efficiency of detoxification processes and helps reduce hangover symptoms. Additionally, regular exercise stimulates production of endorphins that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression – all common side effects associated with a drinking binge.


The research is inconclusive on the effectiveness of working out with a hangover. There are some potential benefits, such as reducing dehydration and providing an endorphin boost, but there are few rigorous studies that support the use of exercise in relieving the symptoms of a hangover.

Most experts agree that it is usually more important to rest and allow your body to repair itself naturally. It may be better to wait until feeling better before beginning any physical activity. The key is to listen to your body and make an informed decision about whether or not exercise is the best way to help recover from a hangover.

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