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.
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!
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?