Running Advice – Exercising With a Hangover

Running Advice - Exercising With a Hangover

Regulars to this site will know by now that my main weapon against the belly bulge is running – I love it…yet hate it…at the same time (no pain, no gain!).

Those closest to me will also know that I like a drink or two throughout the week…and that sometimes leads to me exercising with a hangover.

I have to admit – this running lark is usually the best way for me to kick that ‘morning after’ feeling, it’s brilliant way of sweating out the night before.

But is this type of exercise good for a body that’s already been through the mill with alcohol?

What damage can this do (if any) and how should you approach exercising with a hangover?

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Should You Run After A Super-Binge?

Okay, okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a super-binge of alcohol – lets just say a skin-full!

Personally, I always thought that exercising the morning after was a big NO-NO for your body – I thought it would do more harm than good. But, I’ve come across conflicting views on this through my research…

What Matthew Kornblatt Says…

And who the #### is Matthew Kornblatt? (I hear you say).

Well, Matthew Kornblatt is a certified personal trainer and the founder of RightFit Nation.

He seems to think that exercising the morning after is the best way to get rid of the body toxins from the night before (the crap they put in alcoholic drinks!). Apparently we just sweat all the garbage out of us.

Should You Run After A Super-Binge?

He believes that you need to eat a meal made up of carbs before taking on the workout, something like oats or fruit, it restores the energy that the hangover takes off you (this meal is to be consumed about an hour before the workout starts).

NOTE: I’m pretty much against this meal thingy because I’m a runner – I need to put at least 2 hours between eating and starting a run…otherwise I tend to throw up in my mouth halfway through the run!

He also points out that it is important to drink a load of water before your workout – a hangover usually means your body is dehydrated and needs more liquid in it.

So What Actually Happens To Your Body When You’re Hungover?

This is the important part really BEFORE you decide to take on ‘drunk running’ or not – what is actually going on inside your body?

1) Your Head (Ache)

Excess alcohol upsets the production of vasopressin, a hormone that controls fluid balance. This means you are constantly running to the toilet throughout the night out in question, to have a wee!

This is one of the main causes of dehydration the following morning.

Alcohol also messes about with your immune system’s cytokines. These are chemical messengers that get off on switching on the ‘pain button’ in your body. This contributes to the headache you get the next day.

The darker choices of alcohol also contribute to the hangover headache. If you choose to drink a clean spirit like vodka you are giving yourself more of a chance of avoiding a bad head the next day.

Darker options like whiskey, bourbon, beer and dark wines contain more congeners – these little blighters can exacerbate hangovers.

2) Oh My Liver!

Yep, we all worry about this one…and rightly so! What happens to our livers when we consume a ton of alcohol?

A liver can in theory, only detox one alcoholic drink per hour. Now, if you are a reasonably slow drinker (which I am not), and you can pace yourself (which I can’t), you are far more likely to get away with a reasonably healthy liver.

P.S. The last thing your liver needs on the morning after is a ton of headache killers like acetaminophen piled into the body!

3) Stomach

Alcohol irritates the stomach – some suffer from this more than others (I suffer from this!).

Some people get sick at the very thought of food ‘the day after’ – this is down to alcohol playing games with your stomach AND a little bit of alcohol withdrawal (believe it or not!).

4) The Levels of Your Energy

So you were up late drinking last night – that is why you are so knackered the next morning right?

Well, this isn’t the only reason I’m afraid. When you sleep after drinking you are not really getting ‘proper’ sleep – it actually disturbs the brain’s normal sleep cycles.

It’s also worth noting that in most cases your energy levels will be screwed up for a full 24 hours. There are no real cures for this (so forget about the old wives tale of greasy eggs and bacon!).

Exercising With a Hangover

So there you have it – the ball is well and truly in your court!

Matthew Kornblatt seems to think that exercising is a great way to get over a hangover, and I agree with him to a point, but that’s as far as it goes with my own personal opinion!

You see, I sometimes run distance to get over the night before and it works well – but I don’t necessarily feel that great afterwards. I also wonder how good this sort of option is for the heart – surely running with a hangover puts more strain on it?

So I’m looking for your own personal opinions on this subject – do you often exercise after a night out drinking? Does it help you feel better? Do you think it could possibly work against your body in the long run?

Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

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8 thoughts on “Running Advice – Exercising With a Hangover

  1. Hi Chris,
    What is the benefit that gives me running having a hangover in my body? Surely you will not have benefits and you will have a very heavy extra charge. Therefore, if you like to drink a good wine like me do it but always in moderation. I run every week I try to get better day after day, it’s a sacrifice for me, but why do I do it? Because I always feel young. Thank you!

    1. Okay, struggling a bit to figure out what your question is?

      The article is simply pointing out the pros and cons of running with a hangover – it’s certainly not meant to promote drinking large amounts and THEN exercising! 

  2. The more I can sweat after a night of alcoholic frivolity, the quicker I can work the residual alcohol out of my body.

    To do that, I walk a few miles instead of running. Or, if it is a hot day, I may do a few hours of yard work to work up a good sweat.

    To keep from getting that wonderful (?) hangover headache, the last thing I do before I go to bed after a night of drinking – and the first thing I do in the morning – is swallow a Goody Powder with a beer.

    I know – I know – more alcohol for my body to get rid of. But, the beer eases the nasty, bitter taste of the Goody Powder and smooths out the roughness my body feels when waking up. And, the powdered aspirin shoots quickly through my body so I don’t get that feeling that I have a rusty nail stuck in my forehead!


    1. Ah, they say the hair of the dog is the best way to go with hangovers Jim – the cowboy way of getting over a bad head! 

      It’s not for me – the last thing I can face is more when I have a hangover, but if it works for you – go for it! 

  3. I must admit that I don’t know of anyone who has tried to exercise when they have a hangover. Actually they look more lethargic than ever and exercise is far from their thoughts. Running seems to be a great way for you to kick start the hangover day, so I will definitely pass on this suggestion to those that I know could benefit.

    1. Hi Carol – well you know me now! I’ve done it plenty of times!!!! 

      If you are really reeling, I don’t suggest taking on exercise (i.e. a bottle of whisky the night before!). This will only result in you collapsing about ten meters down the road…

  4. Crikey! I cannot imagine running with a hangover, actually I can’t imagine running at all for that matter. Anyway, I guess all the sweating you do helps sweat out the toxins. I can’t help thinking you’d be putting a lot of strain on your liver in it’s current overloaded state though. Mmmh., maybe I’d prefer to sit in a sauna to sweat out the toxins, or better still, sweat it out under a duvet with some heavy duty ibuprofen  

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