It's Saturday morning and you are booked in for a Fit Squad Bootcamp. Thing is you had a few too many glasses of Prosecco the night before and you feel awful, what should you do?
That sensation that results from those unruly drinking sessions comes from the capillaries in your brain constricting. It's a natural way of your body letting you know you had too much alcohol the night before. It’s caused by a few things, mostly dehydration. The feeling of “not wanting to leave the bed like... ever” can run with you the whole day, depleting your mental and physical capacity throughout. The mythical assumption and long held belief that exercise can cure a hangover is not only wrong, but it's dangerous. Trying to exercise after a night of drinking can cause a whole mess of problems, which we'll look at below.
The 10 Percent Factor
Common sense, sometimes, isn't common sense. When you wake up in the morning, you may want to try just about every avenue to rid that awful headache, but don't jump straight in. “Sweating it out” is believed to be an effective method of removing a bad hangover. The truth is that this is incorrect; you're only dehydrating yourself further and besides your liver has finished processing the alcoholic compounds of a double-shot by the time you wake up. Even if you did have alcohol left over in the blood stream, this method only removes about 10% of it. That vast majority of alcohol consumption (90%) is eliminated through the process of metabolizing in the liver and pancreas. This naturally occurs in your blood as the level approaches zero, so your body is already doing the heavy lifting here. The worst part of a hangover is when your BAC (blood alcohol level) reduces down to a sober 0. That means the exercise you've heard to rid the hangover is only going to dehydrate you further.
Natural Hangover Relief
The best and most effective way to treat a hangover is with hydration. In other words, drink healthy portions of whatever throughout your day. The traditional 'hair of the dog' will only delay the inevitable, further increasing the pain of your hangover. Consume around 8 ounces of water every 20 – 30 minutes to help your body naturally increase the levels of hydration. Remember, your muscles depend on high hydration, so working out during a hangover is not only going to make it worse, it could damage your muscle tissue.
This is one that often gets overlooked, but you'll want to add vitamins to your water intake. Eating foods rich in vitamins and amino acids will help drive the hangover away (you can find these in some juices, too). A healthy combination of orange juice, especially natural, and eggs will provide a good boost of vitamins that push it back to a near optimal level of operating. Orange juice contains a solid amount of vitamin C, which helps the liver's process of breaking down alcohol and other toxins. Treating your liver well during a hangover does a lot of good, so make sure to do this. Eggs have great protein in them and are a fantastic source of other nutrients, which will revitalize dehydrated muscle tissue. They also contain a certain amino acid (known as cysteine) that aides in boosting the liver's natural functions. A good breakfast and plenty of water will always be the best solution for a hangover and it works in synchronization with your body's natural defenses.
Although we would love to see you pushing yourself at a Fit Squad bootcamp during a hangover is a bad idea. We recommend you stear clear of any high intensity cardio or strength training in this situation. What you can do, though, is some light form of exercise. Low-intensity stuff like a light walk or gentle stretching can go a long way in helping you beat that headache, as well as easing the pain.
Avoid high-intensity training like running, jogging or lifting weights. Circuit training is especially a bad idea, but all forms of high intensity training will result in further dehydration, dizziness, fatigue and additional pain. Stretching (in combination with a highly nutritious diet and plenty of water) can remedy the effects of nausea and vertigo, though any normal exercise during these times is asking for trouble. Walking beats running here because it's low intensity. You won't be able to burn off the empty calories of heavy drinking, but you will be able to feel well, which is important in a situation like this. You can always do a bit more exercise to make up for the bad decision of too much alcohol at a later date.
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Cheers & Thanks for reading!