The Effects of Alcohol on Exercise & Health

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We live in a society that day by day is becoming more demanding, more stressful and faster paced.  To get away from this, a lot of us tend to turn towards alcohol.  This usually starts with a few drinks on the weekend, but when alcohol is associated with unwinding or a relaxant after a hard day’s work, this can lead to one or two drinks a night. We all know that excessive drinking is not good from a health perspective but how is it actually affecting our fitness?

Athletic Performance

For those of us who are involved in sports, the consumption of alcohol can impair reaction time, balance and hand-eye coordination. Hydration is also affected as alcohol acts as a diuretic, thereby promoting the loss of fluids and electrolytes that your body requires for proper hydration. Marry this with increased dehydration and you’ve got a recipe for poor performance.

Weight Gain

Alcohol contains approximately 7 calories per gram.  Consider most pints of larger and ale range from 180 to 210 calories per pint.  6 plus pints on a night out and you have consumed more than 1000 additional calories which is definitely going to lead to fat gain, primarily around the stomach region.

Reduced Muscle Growth & Recovery

I order for muscles to recover and grow, we require protein for maintenance and development.  Alcohol tends to impair protein synthesis in the body, thereby interfering with the ability to grow, maintain and repair muscle. Drinking also causes a drop in testosterone levels while increasing cortisol, a hormone that destroys muscle.

 

All the issues mentioned above generally are the beginning of larger and more serious issues.  Additional weight (fat) gain along with reduced muscle tissue can make the body more susceptible to high cholesterol which can lead onto diabetes, heart disease and so on…

Ciaran

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