Combining Exercise and Alcohol: Damaging or Harmless?

It’s not the best idea to work out and then immediately go grab drinks with your friends. It can be hard on your body and make you more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, especially as the weather heats up. But do you really have to sacrifice one for the other? Find out if people who are trying to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle still enjoy a drink or two and remain fit.

Let’s first look at what alcohol can do to your body in regards to keeping fit-Alcohol can easily damage your muscles, causing soreness, cramps and strains, which can cause fatigue to set in next time you’re at the gym. This happens because when you drink liquor, your balance and coordination become muddled, which overworks them in your intoxicated state. This can be especially risky if you’re training for an upcoming marathon or race.

To add insult to injury, alcohol may also slow the repair of damaged muscles, making it even harder to get back to working out and training.

Alcohol can also be the source of prolonged weight gain in men and women. It has little to do with the empty calories alcohol has, but with how your liver processes alcohol. Your liver turns alcohol into acetate, and your body then uses the acetate as fuel instead of using the fat you already have stored up. This can lower your metabolism by as much as 75%, making the pounds add up. Surprisingly, alcohol can also make you lose weight if you’ve been drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long term. Alcohol does this by impairing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Alcohol also has dehydrating properties, which is one of the causes for a hangover, but also harms your performance in the gym. Being dehydrated as little as 2% can be enough to hurt your endurance.

Despite these factors, alcohol doesn’t need to be ruled out completely for those who are looking to maintain their health. Athletic or not, it’s best not to drink to excess. But lighter options, such as red wine, have been known to have many health benefits. It reduces the risk of heart disease, blot clots, and hypertension, to name a few. However, if you still want to live it up with alcohol while keeping your health routine going, there may be an option for you.

A recent study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research showed that regular cardio exercise can lessen the effects of brain damage caused by alcohol. White matter of the brain, which controls learning, cognition, and communication, was studied in people who regularly drink as well as exercise. Their white matter suffered less damage than drinkers who didn’t get any exercise.

So while it’s true that alcohol can cause considerable damage to the athletic person’s body, sometimes you just need a drink or two. Just remember to keep it under control and make smart choices in your drinking. For more information on issues regarding alcohol and its effects, contact The Wilder Firm’s today.