There are two type of hungover people – those who curl up in a ball on the sofa and eat everything in sight, and those who think they can fight the headache and nausea head-on.
Admittedly, this percentage of people is less, but if you’ve ever said the words, “I’ll sweat the hangover out”, you’re one of them.
It might sound like a good way to counterbalance the effect of the previous night’s sins and burn the equivalent calories of a bottle of wine (around 600), but could it actually be better for your health to stay at home, wrapped in a duvet, feeling sorry for yourself?
Funnily enough, yes.
Personal trainer and yoga teacher Shona Vertue says exercising with a hangover is one of the worst things you can do.
“I never ever, ever, let anyone train with a hangover,” she says. “There’s a misconception that you can sweat out a hangover, or that you undo a night out by training and sweating really hard in the gym the next day.”
She counts David Beckham and Gary Barlow among her celebrity clients, so if Becks isn’t training the morning after, we probably don’t need to either, right?
There are two major problems about being hungover when it comes to exercising (aside from the fact that it’s a seriously unpleasant experience) – dehydration and toxins, says Vertue, who has partnered with AXA PPP healthcare to launch their 2018 Flying Start campaign.
“When you’re hungover, there’s a series of issues in the body – dehydration being one of them – so it’s the worst time to go and train, because your body needs hydration in order to a) be strong, and b) to utilise fat as an energy source,” she explains.
“The other thing is that your chemical imbalance is really off, and you have a lot of toxins floating around in your system, so you’re actually putting yourself under more pressure. When your liver is working so hard to try and get rid of the alcohol, you don’t want to then say, ‘I’m going to go and do some hardcore HIIT to make it work even harder right now.’”
It might be self-inflicted, but when you have a hangover, your body is actually ill. Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine, leading to dehydration and lightheadedness. It triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system, can cause your blood sugar to fall and makes your blood vessels expand (which explains your headache) and it irritates the stomach lining, which can cause abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting.
“You wouldn’t tell someone who was dealing with food poisoning to go and do a HIIT class, to go and sweat out the food poisoning,” says Vertue. “It’s the same sort of thing. So when you’re hungover, avoid the gym.”
So there you go – permission to watch Netflix all day in your pyjamas next time.