Hiking with A Hangover (Is It Safe?)

hiking with a hangover

Let me tell you a story about the last time I went hiking with a serious hangover.

Getting out of bed was the hardest part. I felt like my head was going to explode. As I slowly made my way to the kitchen, I could feel the eyes of my dog, Gooby, judging me. “I know, I know,” I said to him. “I’m a mess.”

Gooby, with his disapproving look after one of my late nights.

In my drunken stupor, I had foolishly agreed to go on a hike with my friends the night before, even though I knew I was going to be hungover. Now, here I was, about to embark on a strenuous hike with a pounding headache.

Somehow, I managed to make it to the trailhead. As we started hiking, I began to feel a little better. The fresh air and exercise seemed to be doing me some good.

But then, about halfway up the trail, I started to feel nauseous. I tried to keep going, but eventually, I had to stop and vomit. My friends looked at me funny as they waited for me to finish.

“Well, that was fun,” I said, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. “Shall we continue?”

And so we did, hike onward with a hangover. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but it certainly made for a good story.

Now, for the part that you came for. Can you go hiking with a hangover?

Can You Hike with A Hangover?

The short answer is yes, you can hike with a hangover. But it’s not going to be fun. In fact, it might even be a little bit dangerous.

One of the main causes of Hangovers is dehydration, and hiking is a very strenuous activity that can lead to further dehydration.

If you’re on the trail and you’re feeling nauseous or dizzy, it’s best to sit down and rest. If you’re feeling really bad, it might be best to turn around and head back down the trail. There’s no need to tough it out and push yourself harder than you need to.

And of course, always make sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can make a hangover even worse.

Basically, you can hike with a hangover, but it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. So next time, maybe just stay in bed.

Is It Good to Go Outside when Hungover?

hiking with a hangover
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Let’s say you decided against hiking, but want to get some fresh air instead. Is that a good idea?

It can be, as long as you take it easy. Walking around the block or hanging out in the park might help you to feel better. Getting oxygen and sunlight can help to ease some hangover symptoms.

If you can manage to push through nausea and keep yourself hydrated, then going for a walk or a light hike might actually help you feel better. But like I said, if you’re feeling really bad, it’s probably best to just stay indoors.

Does Hiking Help With A Hangover?

So there is some evidence that walking or physical activity, in general, can help a hangover. One study found that people who went for a walk after drinking alcohol had less severe hangovers than those who didn’t walk.

Walking may help to improve blood circulation and bring more oxygen to the muscles and brain. 

Personally speaking, light exercise always helped me to feel better when I was hungover. Specifically aerobic exercises such as walking, light cardio, or light hiking.

But as far as strenuous activity, such as challenging hikes or weightlifting, I can confidently tell you to give it a rest until you’re feeling better.

Other Tips for Hiking with A Hangover

Drink a lot of water before, during, and after your hike.

Water is absolutely essential for preventing dehydration, which is one of the main culprits of a nasty hangover. But the key is not to wait until you start sweating to start drinking water. You should be sipping on water all day long, especially if you know you’re going to be hiking.

Drink before you get thirsty, and drink even when you don’t feel like it. Dehydration can sneak up on you, so it’s important to stay ahead of it. Knowing how much water to bring on a hike is important here as well. If you’re hungover, consider doubling that number.

Bring along some sodium-rich sports drinks, snacks, and foods.

Hiking can be strenuous, and if you’re already feeling weak from a hangover, you might need a little something extra to keep your energy up. Bring along some snacks such as energy bars, pretzels, trail mix, or fruit.

Sodium can help replenish electrolytes that are lost during sweating and can combat the diuretic effects of alcohol. There’s a reason everyone drinks Gatorade after a night of heavy drinking. Gatorade, Pedialyte, and other electrolyte-based drinks can help to ease hangover symptoms such as headache, nausea, and fatigue.

Listen to your body and take breaks when you need to.

If you’re feeling nauseous, lightheaded, or just generally unwell, it’s time for a break. Find a spot to sit down, put your head between your knees, and breathe. Drink some water and give yourself a few minutes to rest. If you’re feeling better, then you can start hiking again. But if not, it might be time to turn around and head back.

Consider bringing some trekking poles.

When you’re hungover, your coordination isn’t where it needs to be. Even if you haven’t had a drop of alcohol, your coordination and balance can be off after a night of poor sleep. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to bring trekking poles when hiking, regardless of if you’re hungover or not.

Trekking poles can help to improve your balance and give you a little extra support on the trail, especially on uneven terrain. If you’re on a budget, check out our reviews of the best budget trekking poles for 2022.

Start your hike early.

This one might be a little bit difficult if you’re struggling with a hangover, but it’s worth a try. The earlier you can start your hike, the cooler it will be. And hiking in cooler temperatures can help to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Hiking in the blistering heat with a hangover is a surefire way to make yourself feel even worse. So if you can, get an early start and avoid the heat of the day.

Plus, getting an early start means that you can end your hike early too. And let’s be honest, when you’re hungover, all you really want to do is go home and crawl into bed. And I can promise you, that nap you take when you get home is going to feel amazing.

Bring some over-the-counter medicine, just in case you start feeling really bad.

If you’re feeling nauseous, a pain reliever such as ibuprofen can help to ease the headache and muscle aches that are common hangover symptoms. And if you’re feeling really sick, you might need something a little stronger, such as an anti-nausea medication.

Of course, you should always check with your doctor before taking any medication, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Take it easy and go at your own pace.

This is probably the most important tip of all. If your hangover is terrible, don’t try to push through it. Listen to your body and take it easy. There’s no shame in taking a break or turning back early. The most important thing is that you don’t make yourself feel worse.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! Those are my tips for hiking with a hangover. Just remember to listen to your body, take it easy, and drink lots of water. And if you’re feeling really bad, it might be best to just call it quits and head home.

Happy hungover hiking! 😜

Do you have any hangover hiking tips that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!

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