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Exercising the Day After Drinking Alcohol

Why it can be so rewarding, and how to do it safely

People working out in the morning together

Since ZBiotics launched in 2019, we’ve been asking our happiest customers the same question. What is it about ZBiotics that keeps them coming back?

We’ve noticed something interesting in their responses.

Over 90% of the time, it’s not about how ZBiotics makes them feel the day after drinking alcohol. Instead, it’s about what ZBiotics helps them do. And more often than not, what ZBiotics helps them do is to get up and move.

Maybe it’s a regular workout class. A morning yoga session on the beach. Or a favorite run through the park. Whatever form it takes, people consistently tell us that they feel their best the day after drinking when they are able to exercise.

The feedback has been so consistent, that we feel confident saying that if you can work out in the morning after drinking – and if you can do so safely – you’re likely better off for it.

But why? What makes exercising the morning after a night out so rewarding? And how can you do it responsibly, without putting your health at risk?

Let’s dive in.

Why Exercise the Day After Drinking Can Be Great For You

Man running by the beach

It helps you stick to the routines that build long-term health

It's easy to say, “I had a few drinks last night; I'll skip my workout today.” But if there’s one area of life where consistency is key, it’s exercise.

Working out is a long-term habit that’s built over time. While it’s difficult to build the habit, it’s all too easy to lose.

Taking a quick break may not sound like a big deal, but it’s worth thinking about whether you’re the type of person who needs pretty rigid consistency to keep up with a routine. For many of us, one missed day quickly cascades into a missed week or month that’s difficult to recover from.

In that situation, even a quick workout the day after drinking can help preserve momentum. This momentum is critical to the long-term health benefits we know to be true of exercise: fewer chronic diseases, enhanced cognitive function, reduced stress, and more (citation).

It boosts your mood, which you particularly need after drinking

Alcohol, despite its initial euphoric effects, is a depressant – one that can leave you feeling down, groggy, and sluggish the next day (citation). Exercise can provide a much-needed mood and energy boost.

Exercise isn't just about physical strength or long-term health. It also plays a pivotal role in our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Individual bouts of exercise enhance our mood, decrease our stress, and even improve our executive function (citation, citation).

These all help counterbalance the emotional effects of alcohol, helping alleviate the “blues” that often come after a night of drinking.

It helps you reset and feel good about yourself

The biochemical effects of alcohol are strong. So even if you have a great night out – one filled with laughter, friends, and family where you drank responsibly – you might be left with feelings of anxiety, regret, or guilt the next day. These insidious feelings can make you feel worse about yourself if you’re not mindful of them. But exercise provides a solution.

Exercising can act as a reset button, allowing us to regain control and reaffirm our commitment to living a balanced, healthy life.

By choosing to exercise, we send a positive message to ourselves. We’re saying, "Yes, I had a drink last night, but I also value my health and put in the work to maintain it.” This self-affirming action can significantly boost our self-esteem and contribute to a healthier self-image. It's a reminder that our identities are not defined by a single action or decision, but by the overall effort we put into leading a healthy life.

This might sound like we’re veering into health psychology. But there is a growing body of research pointing to the positive effects of exercise on anxiety, stress, and depression (citation).

Fascinatingly, several large, population-based studies have shown that people who are physically active are also likely to be moderate drinkers (citation, citation). This is just correlation, but it does raise some interesting ideas as to why that might be the case.

Experts in this field have looked into this very question, and we’ll defer to their expertise here: citation. One idea we’ll toss into the ring is that the benefits of exercising could help counterbalance the drawbacks of alcohol, lightening the emotional and physical load of drinking on peoples’ lives as a whole. Food for thought!


A woman stretching before working out

Tips For Exercising the Day After Drinking

If you decide to exercise the day after you drink, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t exercise if you’re still intoxicated: Make sure your body has had sufficient time to recuperate and eliminate as much alcohol from your system as possible before you exercise. If you’re feeling particularly bad or if you still feel intoxicated, skip the workout altogether. You need more time to recover, and exercising now can be dangerous (citation).

  2. Stay hydrated and fueled up: Depending on how your evening went, you might have been drinking less water or eating less food than you normally would ahead of a workout. If that’s the case, it’s worth making sure you hydrate and fuel up before starting in the morning.

  3. Go slow, end early, and take the win: Remember the benefits we’re seeking: sticking to our routines, boosting our mood, and reinforcing our self esteem. None of these require a great workout the next day. Even a light bout of exercise is enough to check all these boxes.

So listen to your body. Between grogginess, possible brain fog, and less-than-normal coordination, your body may not be ready for your regular routine and now’s not the time to put more stress on it. Consider lowering your workout’s intensity, easing into it, and giving your body time to acclimate.

If you feel like you’re getting close to overdoing it, stop. You’ve already done what you came to do. Take the win and go enjoy the rest of your day. But if the exercise is feeling good, then feel free to go for it!

Final Thoughts On Drinking & Healthy Living

When used responsibly, alcohol is a fun way to enhance some of life’s greatest moments, whether it’s a champagne toast at a wedding or a cold beer at a game. But we know that alcohol isn’t great for our bodies and minds.

Living in the modern world means acknowledging both of these facts.

Nobody is better at that than ZBiotics’ customers, who are some of the most well-adjusted, self-aware people we’ve ever met. They understand that you can enjoy alcohol while also living a healthy life. They also know that doing so doesn’t just happen.

It takes deliberate effort. And they know that exercising the day after drinking can help.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice.