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You might be reading this because your hangover has yet to subside, and you might even have already resorted to dubious food recipes that cured only your perpetual hunger. But first, what exactly is a hangover? If you’ve never had proper fun and been through one (just kidding!), a hangover is a range of symptoms caused by heavy drinking. It typically involves a throbbing headache, feeling nauseous, sleepy and thirsty, and in some people, swearing “never again” to drink heavily (yeah right).
So read on to see if a good run can rid you of these woes or if it simply makes things worse.
What Does Alcohol Do to the Body?
Alcohol makes you pee more than usual. It affects your kidney and causes your bladder to fill up faster. This causes the dehydration people experience during a hangover and is the same reason why your throat feels as dry as the Sahara desert when you wake up.
This dehydration is also the reason for your headache as your brain cells stretch their cell membranes when they don’t have enough water.
What Happens if You Run With a Hangover?
If you start running with a hangover, you’re starting the run dehydrated. Remember that during workouts, you already tend to get dehydrated from perspiration. If you think sweating out toxins from last night’s drinking session is the cure for a hangover, think again. Running with a hangover can result in adverse effects.
You are putting yourself at a higher risk of hurting your muscles, getting cramps, and feeling more soreness in your muscles. These are on top of your throat and mouth feeling incredibly dry.
Also bear in mind that feeling dizzy and nauseous is one of the uncomfortable consequences of binge alcohol consumption. Heck, “uncomfortable” doesn’t even come close to describing a state of feeling like you’re about to vomit your brains out each time you move an inch.
If you’re feeling giddy and inattentive, you might also pose a threat to your personal road safety too. Some even experience poorer decision-making during a hangover, something that you wouldn’t want when running across roads or near them (touch wood!). As if last night's binge wasn't already a bad enough decision.
Does Running Really Cure Hangovers?
It seems like taking into consideration the dehydration involved; you might be hard-pressed to feel better after a run. According to Dr. Scott Weiss, co-founder of Bodhizone Health and Wellness, exercise cannot cure hangovers. Instead, he advocates sleep as a more effective remedy, which is great news for those who consider snoozing a beloved pastime - honestly, who doesn’t?
However, if you’re feeling well enough, the increase in metabolism that comes with light exercise can alleviate hangover symptoms. Also, endorphins produced from a workout may at the very least make you feel better, albeit temporarily.
You may have heard of individuals who feel better after hitting the treadmill, but different people experience hangovers differently, depending on their body’s manner of metabolizing alcohol.
Logically, this rule might apply to the effectiveness of workouts as a remedy too. Thus, you might be confined under your blankets wishing you never even heard of the word ‘alcohol’ while your friend might feel up for a gym session.
What Can You Do if You Cannot Miss on a Run?
You can drink sips of water during and after your drinking session to reduce dehydration, or limit the number of drinks you have the night before a run.
You can also hydrate yourself with water or Gatorade beforehand, but coconut water is what you should really aim for. And if you don’t already have the habit of doing so, check your pee. If it’s very little, or intense in colour, it probably means that you’re dehydrated.
Just remember, when it comes to hangover cures, different rules apply to different individuals.
Just remember, when it comes to hangover cures, different rules apply to different individuals. Cheers to knowing what works best for ourselves! Time for a drink?
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