Here's why you should never work out when you've got a hangover
If there's one thing more likely to put you off drinking than anything else, it's a hangover. Sure, having a few beers and letting loose on the dance floor is fun - but is it really worth the relentless nausea, debilitating headache, and overwhelming desire to crawl into bed and never get out again the next morning?
Well, seeing as we've been doing it for thousands of years - and still continue to do it even though we know better - it apparently is.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to ease of the worst of that morning after grossness. Drinking plenty of water and eating some carbs before bed will help to soak up some of the alcohol and reduce dehydration, and doing the same thing the next morning should alleviate some of your suffering, too.
There are also a number of things you should avoid when you've got the post-booze blues. Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, if you love a bit of hair of the dog), more alcohol comes top of the list, followed closely by reading all the text messages you sent your ex while intoxicated. However, there's one seemingly-healthy thing you should steer clear of if you're hungover: working out.
How anyone could ever fathom climbing out of bed - let alone hitting the gym - after a heavy night out is probably beyond most of our comprehension, but it's surprisingly common amongst people who are more active than average.
According to Mark Leyshon, the senior policy and research officer at Alcohol Concern, people who play more sport also drink more alcohol. "The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but may be tied up around ideas of masculinity and peer influences (‘play hard, drink hard’ attitudes), and notions that we’ve ‘earned’ the right to drink heavily after vigorous exercise or that we are immune from the negative effects of alcohol because we regularly exercise," he said.
But jumping straight back into a regular, active routine just a matter of hours after getting trashed is a very bad idea.
“Our performance after drinking will be pretty underwhelming,” Leyshon explained. “Alcohol makes our kidneys produce more urine, causing dehydration which will only be made worse by exercising, leading to reduced performance.”
But that's not all.
On top of that, alcohol interferes with the liver's ability to release glucose into the body, so your blood sugar will be lower than usual after a drink. Obviously, this is not an ideal condition to workout in.
Worst of all, though, excessive drinking sometimes leads to irregular heart activity.
Dr. Sarah Jarvis, a medical advisor for Drinkaware, said that "drinking can increase the potential for unusual heart rhythms."
She went on to explain, "This is a risk which significantly increases during exercise up to two days after heavy alcohol consumption. This is because the activity itself already increases your heart rate and with a lot of alcohol in your system, you put extra stress on the organ.”
Dr. Jarvis also went on to say how intoxication itself - rather than the hangover which follows - will have lasting effects the next day.
“You process at a very rough estimate about one unit an hour, and sometimes less. So your co-ordination could be affected, and you’re more likely not to know your limits – for instance, if you’re lifting weights.
“That means you’re much more likely to suffer an injury or strain something, which could put you out of action for a much longer time.”
So there you have it, guys: if your pal asks you to come to the gym with them the morning after a particularly eventful night, don't just tell them you can't go because you're hungover - say you're staying home for the sake of your health and wellbeing.