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Exercise despite a hangover? What you need to pay attention to



  • When should I start training again after a night of drinking?
  • What workout should I do with a hangover?
  • What should the athlete’s hangover breakfast look like?
  • What are electrolytes and what is their function?
  • Which electrolytes are relevant for athletes?
  • How do I best absorb electrolytes?
  • Can you take in too many electrolytes and harm your body?
  • What symptoms does an electrolyte deficiency cause?
  • Which foods have electrolytes in them?
  • What’s the Elotrans hype all about?

One thing is clear: sport and alcohol don’t mix particularly well. Alcohol poisons the body, as numerous studies have shown, and this is often accompanied by little sleep and headaches – the famous hangover. Actually not good conditions for training.

But athletes also want to party and may not always stay sober. The good news: You can exercise even if you have a hangover. Here we explain how you can train safely despite a hangover and why it can even make sense.

When should I start training again after a night of drinking?

Best in the evening. “Alcohol, as a cell toxin, has numerous negative effects on physical fitness. Under the influence of alcohol, coordination and reaction skills decrease, which increases the risk of sports injuries,” warns the Federal Center for Health Education. It is therefore better to postpone your training session until the evening, when you can think clearly again.

Does the hangover make you feel low in energy, anxious or in a depressed mood? Then you probably suffer from ‘Hangxiety’. A study by the University of Exeter shows that shy people are particularly affected. But: As soon as you start exercising again, the happiness hormone dopamine is released. As the SMILE study shows, exercise helps against depression.

Tip: If you want to train the next day, drink a beer in the evening instead of a sweet cocktail. Because beer contains less alcohol than white wine, red wine and especially cocktails. Recommendation of the German Nutrition Society: Men should consume less than 20 grams of alcohol per day. But let’s be honest: at a good party it will definitely be more.

And by the way: Even that beer after a club sport or a champagne to toast the marathon you’ve completed has an impact: Consuming alcohol after sport means that the metabolic processes that are necessary for building muscle only take place to a limited extent. Even small amounts of alcohol after training can hinder the regeneration of muscle tissue.

What workout should I do with a hangover?

“You shouldn’t increase the intensity of the exercise too much and you shouldn’t do any major endurance activity in the summer without an adequate supply of electrolytes, as the body loses electrolytes through sweat. Then there is a risk of an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to dizziness, cramps and a reduction in performance “, warns sports medicine specialist Dr. Wilhelm Bloch from the Cologne Sports University.

Physiologist Jim Pate from Londoner Centre for Health and Human Performance recommends exercising after a hangover with “light aerobic intensity to remind the body that it still needs to function.” Constant endurance training with a low pulse rate, at the earliest in the late afternoon, is the training plan after an alcohol-heavy evening.

What should the athlete’s hangover breakfast look like?

Meals rich in protein and fiber are best. If you wait longer to train, eggs and toast are great. If you’re in a hurry, it’s better to just snack on a banana, it contains a lot of minerals and, above all, a lot of potassium. You should avoid eating high-fat foods.

You should drink a lot with this. Because alcohol stimulates water excretion. Who does not know it? As soon as you drink alcohol, you feel like you have to constantly run to the toilet. Why? Well, alcohol deprives the body of water, which is important for supplying the muscles with nutrients and minerals. This dehydration is also the reason why we the day after often have a thick skull. That’s why you should drink a glass of water with every alcoholic drink and the day after, drink enough water until your urine is clear.

What are electrolytes and what is their function?

“Electrolytes are molecules that are responsible for the regulation of the cell membrane, but also for contraction within the cell,” explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bloch. “The body needs a whole range of electrolytes, each of which plays a role.” The most important are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. He explains: “Our body is in a state of equilibrium (homeostasis), in which the interaction of many electrolytes is important for proper cell regulation.”

Alcohol consumption, especially high alcohol consumption, causes a shift in electrolytes and a deficiency, which can, however, be compensated for through diet or nutritional supplements (such as Elotrans or Revival). “By taking it, I can balance the electrolyte balance again,” says Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Bloch.

Which electrolytes are relevant for athletes?

Balancing electrolytes, especially potassium, is particularly important for athletes: “If the potassium level changes outside the cells, this causes more continuous excitation of the membrane, which can lead to fatigue. During exercise, more potassium is transported out of the cell and the excess potassium excreted via the kidneys, this leads to a potassium deficiency. Then the tension no longer works properly,” says Prof. Dr. Bloch. A deficiency can lead to cramps and a loss of performance.

What you have to pay attention to when training: “It is unfavorable to consume too many electrolytes during exercise; this can also have negative effects. That is why it is better to consume enough electrolytes before exercise,” says Dr. Bloch.

Tip: As an athlete, you should always ensure that your electrolyte levels are balanced, especially before a competition.

How do I best absorb electrolytes?

“With a good, balanced diet, we get all the electrolytes we need. We absorb electrolytes every day, simply by drinking water,” explains Dr. Bloch, “Virtually all foods contain electrolytes.” Electrolytes are naturally contained in both mineral water and tap water. Dr. recommends athletes Bloch especially apple spritzer, because apple juice combined with mineral water contains a particularly high concentration of electrolytes. Some athletes prefer isotonic drinks (e.g. from Dextro Energy).

Can you take in too many electrolytes and harm your body?

Don’t worry: “A short-term overdose of electrolytes is excreted by the kidneys,” explains Dr. Bloch. This means that if you consume electrolytes but are not actually deficient in them, they will not cause any harm. Excess electrolytes are excreted in the urine to restore the balance in the electrolyte balance. “It’s usually more a question of whether I’m getting enough electrolytes,” says Dr. Bloch.

What symptoms does an electrolyte deficiency cause?

“There are very different and diverse symptoms, ranging from fatigue to muscle weakness, abnormal heart rate, intestinal/digestive problems and even neurological problems. In principle, with such symptoms you should also rule out an electrolyte deficiency. If, for example, muscle weakness in the summer after heavy sweating, If fatigue and confusion occurs, this may be due to an electrolyte deficiency,” says sports medicine specialist Dr. Bloch.

To be on the safe side, you can also seek medical help: a blood analysis measures the concentration of electrolytes and checks whether there is a deficiency or an overdose. The latter can occur if you suffer from (possibly undetected) hormonal disorders.

Which foods have electrolytes in them?

“Practically all foods contain electrolytes,” explains Dr. Bloch, “It definitely makes sense to drink apple juice spritzer before, during and after exercise. It is important to note that especially with liquids with a high electrolyte concentration, the fluid can shift from the body into the digestive tract. ” In other words: If you’re unlucky, you’ll get diarrhea – which can worsen your electrolyte deficiency in the short term. So don’t overdo it either.

What’s the Elotrans hype all about?

Recently there has been a hype that teenagers are taking Elotrans powder – a nutritional supplement powder that contains concentrated electrolytes – after drinking a lot of alcohol to avoid feeling a hangover. It is actually taken to restore the lost mineral and water balance after a diarrheal illness by providing minerals, salts and glucose.

The sports doctor comments on the hype: “This was done years ago, when I was young it was Alka Selzer. Alcohol causes an electrolyte deficiency situation. If you consume electrolytes, you make up for it again. After the hangover “It may make sense to substitute electrolytes, as food intake is often impaired,” says Dr. Bloch.

So if your hangover makes you so sick that you can’t eat, a dietary supplement like Elotrans can be useful, especially if you’re planning a light exercise session later in the day.

Even if you drank a lot of alcohol yesterday, it makes sense to do some light endurance training the following evening. Make sure your electrolyte balance is back in order. Since a lot of electrolytes are excreted through alcohol consumption, it makes sense to quickly replace them with food or nutritional supplements.


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