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When most people think of the word hangover, images of heavy drinking followed by a night of potentially rough symptoms are the first thought that come to peoples’ minds. That said, the term can also apply to individuals who partake in serious fitness routines. Fortunately, as with alcohol hangovers, there are methods stricken individuals can employ to speed their recoveries.

Fitness Hangover Defined

Similar to prototypical events involving alcohol, fitness hangovers occur when the body is overtaxed from too much physical activity. Any type of strenuous action could precipitate such an occurrence including weight training, running or participating in any number of sports.

Associated manifestations can vary from afflicted person to person. That said, common symptoms include significant muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, digestive symptoms, dizziness and a general feeling of malaise. In fact, these manifestations can become quite pronounced and cost those impacted time at work and lost social opportunities. Luckily, many stricken individuals can overcome these maladies in a relatively short period. Medical and fitness experts recommend employing strategies like:


Healthcare and exercise professionals stress that stretching not only strengthens the muscles and tendons needed to perform various strenuous exercises but can lengthen these structures, which can make them less susceptible to injury.

Obtaining Adequate Rest

Most members of the medical and fitness communities agree that adequate rest is vital to recovering from a fitness hangover. Sleep stimulates the recovery process on several fronts. First, a body at rest is the optimal time to repair torn muscle tissue. Furthermore, during sleep is when the body releases substances known as hormones, which help foster the recovery process.

Potential Prevention Techniques

Though preventing a fitness hangover may not always be possible, especially when partaking in ultra strenuous activities, certain precautionary measures might either prevent or at least lessen the hangover’s severity. Such measures include:

Exercising Only After Consuming A Full Meal

Engaging in physical exertion without obtaining proper nutrition can potentially be detrimental at multiple fronts. Obviously, the body is undernourished and might not be capable of handling the physical strain. Such an event might precipitate injuries. Additionally, when individuals work out on empty stomachs, their bodies burn muscle and not fat. Burning muscle defeats the entire purpose of physical activity.

Listening To The Body’s Cues

One possible key in fitness hangover prevention is listening to the body. Workout participants should pay attention to little aches and pains they experience during physical exertion. These symptoms could be cues that the body is tiring and the activity regiment should stop.