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Alcohol exercise
27th September 2018

Alcohol and Sport and Exercise

Most of us can appreciate why we treat ourselves to a couple of alcoholic drinks here and there, especially around the festive period… but have you ever thought about the impact of Alcohol on Sport?

As everything in life it is important to consider a BALANCE.

A simple thing to do, especially if you are sitting around a dinner table, is to drink an equal amount of water as the alcoholic drink. Enjoy the glass of wine with the meal but drink water if you are thirsty. This will help you “dilute” the effect of alcohol and will keep you hydrated.

Of course a healthy exercise regime will help to offset some of the negative impacts of excessive drinking but be aware of some dangers if you are thinking of going for a run to try and conquer that Boxing Day hangover.

Exercising with a hangover

Your performance will undoubtedly be reduced if you work out or play sports with alcohol still in your system… There are two main reasons for this:

  • Dehydration: Alcohol is actually a diuretic that promotes fluid loss and contributes to dehydration (hence the glass of water next to the wine). If you are planning to go for a run you might experience cramps or even pull calf or hamstring muscles for example
  • Coordination may well be impacted: You are less likely to recognise your limits – for instance, if you’re lifting weights. This means you are much more likely to sustain an injury or strain something.

Drinking post-workout/sports match

Wondering whether to head straight to the pub after your training session or match?

Ever thought if you actually could be sabotaging your work out?

Drinking alcohol after exercise can impact your post-workout recovery.

  • Alcohol slows down the repair process of muscle damage.
  • Strength and weight training stimulate increased testosterone levels, heavy drinking may lower testosterone levels, and impact the way in which the body uses this type of hormone.
  • If you have a soft tissue injury, alcohol opens up the blood vessels and encourages swelling at the injury site.
  • Drinking alcohol is also known to decrease sleep duration when consumed after exercise. This affects muscle regeneration.

And as always, REMEMBER: Don’t drink and drive this Christmas!

The legal limit allows an average sized man to drink as many as 4 units of alcohol (around two pints of normal strength beer) and women can drink 3 (the equivalent of a large glass of average strength wine).

But why risk your and somebody else’s life? Enjoy your drink and DO NOT DRIVE.

Published on: 27th September 2018