Can You Cure Your Hangover With a Workout?
After a night of heavy drinking, you're probably looking for a quick fix for your hangover. Could a workout do the trick?
Unfortunately, the sweat-it-out theory is a myth. The reason: Your body can metabolize about one drink—a 12-ounce (oz) beer, 5oz of wine, or 1.5oz of liquor—per hour. By the time you wake up in the morning, the alcohol has already passed through your system.
But that doesn't mean breaking a sweat is a bad idea.
"The qualities that make exercise an effective anti-depressant can help you feel better," according to Katarina Borer, Ph.D., professor at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology. Exercise releases a surge of neurochemicals and hormones—like endorphins, norepinepherine, and even adrenaline—that boost your energy, mood, motivation, and pleasure, she says. Plus, burning off a few extra calories may diminish some of your guilt for overindulging the night before.
So while a workout won't erase the effects of the drinks—or those photos on Facebook—it may give you the kick in the butt you need to make it through the day.
"The key is to get your heart rate up and your muscles burning just enough to stimulate the release of these body chemicals without pushing yourself too hard, since you're already likely fatigued and dehydrated," says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-founder of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts, who created the quick 20-minute hangover helper below.
Grab some water and a pair of 15- to 20-pound dumbbells. Perform each exercise back-to-back, resting only when needed. After you've completed all 6 exercises, rest for 60 to 90 seconds. That's 1 round. Repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes.
Dumbbell Goblet Squat: 10 reps
Dumbbell push press: 10 reps
Dumbbell goblet reverse lunge: 5 reps each side
Bent-over row: 10 reps
Pushup: 10 reps
Offset farmer's walk: 25 seconds each side
Rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes.