Does 'Sweating Out' Alcohol Really Cure Your Hangover?

Pain reliever: check. Dark room: check. Greasy food: check. Whether you tried drinking a stressful day away or you had a little too much fun out with your squad, you're now buried in your bed with all your hangover essentials. You're not alone: Cleveland Clinic says that 75% of people who binge drink experience a hangover after a big night out. And the headache, dizziness, nausea, and other nasty symptoms can last a full day or even longer.


But let's face it, life doesn't stop for a hangover. If you're feeling sick after drinking alcohol, you might be desperate to find the elusive hangover cure. While some may swear by certain remedies, WebMD notes that there isn't a true hangover cure, except to avoid drinking excessively in the first place. Still, there's a common belief that hitting the gym to "sweat out" alcohol is one effective way to overcome hangover symptoms. But does sweating really cure a hangover, or can it make it worse?

Working up a sweat might not help your hangover

Exercise is often touted as a solution for, well, just about anything. And though, according to the CDC, working up a sweat can help with everything from disease prevention to brain health, it might not be so effective when it comes to curing a hangover. HowStuffWorks explains that the majority of alcohol that enters the body is processed and oxidized in the liver – not flushed out through sweat. That means that trying to "sweat out" alcohol through exercise or other means is unlikely to work. Not only that, but hangover symptoms are a sign that your liver has already started trying to metabolize all those bloody marys, meaning it's too late to try to sweat the alcohol out.


Still, some alcohol does travel out of the body through sweat, which might be why you sometimes smell alcohol on your skin after a night of partying. Sports medicine physician Damion Martins, M.D., told Runner's World, "Alcohol is broken down in the body to acetic acid. ... The remainder is excreted as a toxin through your urine, breath, and sweat. Therefore as you sweat, the toxin is expelled from the body."

However, perspiring to the point of smelling alcohol might only exacerbate hangover symptoms. Louise Chen, a registered dietitian, told MyFitnessPal, "If you've drunk enough to be hungover, you're likely dehydrated, so sweating would only make things worse."

Exercise with caution after drinking

For those who are itching to get moving, even while suffering from a hangover, there are some gentle exercises that can be beneficial. YouTuber Yoga with Adriene created an entire video dedicated to hangover-friendly yoga poses that are focused less on sweating and more on bringing energy back into the body. Other easygoing workouts, like walking, swimming, or stretching, are ideal for getting up and out of bed. Just be sure to skip high-intensity exercises. As personal trainer Shayna Schmidt told Byrdie, "Your coordination will undoubtedly be off [during intense workouts] and you won't be at the top of your game. ... Plus, since your muscles are fatigued, you could run the risk of a serious injury."


Besides gentle exercises, it's also totally okay to call a time-out and take a rest day. According to NBC News, it's better to give yourself a chance to relax if you're sleep deprived, feeling sick, or at risk of dehydration — all common symptoms after drinking.