After a night of drinking, it’s not always easy to get up the next day and sweat. And, is it healthy to do so? But it’s often the idea that “sweating it out,” i.e. getting the toxins out of system, that seems to help ease some of the symptoms of the morning after. Most doctors don’t believe this theory really works, especially if side effects are severe.
We asked exercise expert E. Todd Schroeder, PhD, MS, CSCS, FACSM, associate professor and director of the USC Clinical Exercise Research Center, whether he thought it was safe to hit your favorite workout after a night drinking. “It’s not a good idea,” Schroeder says, assuming you had enough to put yourself in rough shape the next morning. “You are likely dehydrated which puts you in a compromised state for exercise,” he adds. “The most challenging and dangerous time to exercise is when you are dehydrated. Since alcohol is a diuretic causing you to excrete excessive water and electrolytes you likely wake up [the next morning] dehydrated.”
Exercising in this state can make morning-after symptoms of drinking even worse. Think side effects like lightheadedness, shakiness, nausea and weakness. And, that whole sweating it out thing… it’s just a myth. “The other thing is that you don’t really ‘sweat out’ the alcohol,” says Schroeder. “About 98% of the alcohol you consume is metabolized — or, ‘broken down’ — in the liver and less than 1% of the alcohol is released through the pores in your skin with sweating. But it is enough to make you smell like the night before!” So, yeah, there’s that.
Most experts say that good, old fashioned hydration, healthy food and rest will get you back in the game quickest if you didn’t take care of yourself the night before.
Get your body ready
If you’re plan to push through exercise despite the risks, there are some things to keep mind so you do more good than harm to your health. Overall, the most important thing is to listen to your body, says Schroeder.
While he says there are no formal guidelines for exercising the morning after you’ve been drinking, “there is research to show that performance, endurance and strength are all reduced after ingestion of greater than normal amounts of alcohol — in some cases very little amounts of alcohol,” he explains. “Because alcohol affects motor skills, metabolism, aerobic endurance and hydration, you are better to wait until you have hydrated very well, can keep down a good meal and don’t have a headache before beginning exercise. So wait until your body feels better before exercising to avoid injury and putting unnecessary stress on the body during a dehydrated state.”
Try these tips to put your body back in shape before shaping up:
Hit the brakes
Sometimes you think you’re ready to exercise but your body isn’t on board.
Signs you should take a rest day, or at the very least, according to Schroeder “stop, hydrate, get carbs and recover before trying to exercise again:”
Not only is your body telling you is needs downtime, but do you really want to work out when you feel like that?