It’s that time of year again. Lots of parties and drinking. New Year’s Eve may be the biggest drinking night of the year, often leading to a bad hangover. Many believe that working out hard and/or “sweating out the toxins” the next day is a good idea. They’re wrong. Not only is it bad, but it can also be dangerous for you. Especially if you’re older. The main way your body gets rid of toxins–detoxifies–is through the liver and the kidneys. These organs process the waste that eventually leaves your body via your stool and urine. The sweat glands’ primary function is to control your body temperature, not getting rid of waste products. While research indicate that people with high levels of toxins in their blood have lost traces of heavy metals via perspiration, it’s very minor compared to what the liver and kidneys can do for you.
Here are three big reasons why sweating it out at the gym after a wild night is a bad idea:
- Dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it triggers your body to get rid of water through urination and sweating. When you have a bad hangover, you’re also very dehydrated. Do not add to this unhealthy state by pushing yourself at the gym. Sweating is NOT the answer, drinking plenty of liquids is. Plain water is great, but consider adding electrolyte tablets such as NUUN tablets to your water to replace lost sodium and potassium. You’ll feel better sooner.
- Poor Coordination. After a night of heavy drinking, you will not have slept well. So you will be tired and unfocused. You may experience brain fog. The alcohol is still in your system, affecting your coordination in a negative way. You’re more likely to fall and hurt yourself, not to mention drop a heavy weight on your foot or on someone else. Your already dehydrated state can result in you having muscle cramps and less control of your body in general, leading to pulled and/or strained muscles. Running is a bad idea.
- Internal stress. Everybody already knows that drinking too much alcohol is bad for your body. It takes a toll on your internal organs such as your heart, brain, liver, pancreas. Putting your body through a hard workout is stressful for your body and should only be done when you feel okay. Otherwise, you’ll do more damage than good. You cannot get rid of a hangover by exercising/sweating. Listen to your body! If it’s exhausted and tired and achy and you feel nauseous, don’t make it worse by exercising hard or taking a sauna “to sweat it out.” Instead, take this day to binge-watch a great TV show from the comfort of your couch or bed, while drinking lots of water and eating nutritious food to heal your body and mind from the damage caused from all that alcohol. The fourth season of Cobra Kai comes out on New Year’s Eve. Perfect timing if you ask me:)
If you’re one of those incredibly stubborn people who just have to exercise a little despite your body loudly disapproving, please stick to a walk outside or a gentle yoga class. Unless you’re suicidal or a masochist, avoid anything involving HIIT, heavy weights, hot yoga, and biking outside.