This is why you shouldn’t work out when you’re hungover

Being hungover really is a good excuse to skip leg day

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Ece Erbas / EyeEm)

We might think that when we’re hungover—racked with beer fear and exhausted from a night of bad sleep—a workout might make us feel better and do our bodies some good. Sadly, we couldn’t be more wrong.

Experts at E-Bikes Direct explain why we really are better off skipping that cardio session the morning after.

One of our list of debunked hangover myths, exercise won’t sweat out the alcohol. In fact, the experts say that less than 10% of alcohol in our system can be lost this way.

woman holding a yoga mat, refreshing with water after practicing yoga at home

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Alcohol is a known dehydrator and diuretic—meaning that it makes you need the toilet a lot. So if you’re already dehydrated before your workout even starts, getting sweaty will only exacerbate this problem. 

Losing even more of your body's liquid when you work out can lead to cramps, sprains, tears, muscle tension and some pretty nasty injuries—no thanks, our heads hurt enough! 

Another key reason for skipping a workout is overall tiredness. We know alcohol has a huge impact on our sleep cycle, so working out to get even more fatigued is what we might call a recipe for disaster. You may momentarily feel better after you work out, but that buzz won’t last for long.

There's also alcohol’s effect on our metabolism. It’s no friend to it, that’s for sure. E-Bikes Direct’s experts say: “The body cannot store alcohol like sugar and carbs, so it makes its way to the liver to be processed. Consequently, tension is inflicted upon the digestive system as the body attempts to access essential nutrients. It is here that the metabolism slacks.” 

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So when you work out you’re not getting access to the number of nutrients you would be normally, which will make you tire out faster. 

Now, exercising does release everyone's favorite happy hormone, dopamine. So it will make you feel a bit better, but it can also mask how your body is feeling and any injuries you may have sustained during your workout. 

If you feel like you really want to get your body moving, opt for low-intensity exercise, such as home workouts, gentle yoga, Pilates, cycling or just going for a walk. Better yet, give yourself a break and have a self-care day.

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.