Is your workout routine turning you into an alcoholic?
Believe it or not, a new study shows that the most dedicated exercisers tend to also be the biggest drinkers. In fact, researchers found that people who engaged in vigorous exercises – like running - were 10 percent more likely to be drinkers. And of those drinkers, the heaviest drinkers exercised an average of 20 minutes more than people who never drank! In other words: The more people exercised, the more they drank, and vice versa.
What’s going on? Dr. Michael French is a professor of health at the University of Miami, who led this new study. He says the most popular theory is that people are using alcohol as a “reward” for exercise. And when you do that, the combination can be addicting. That’s because exercise and alcohol both trigger the release of dopamine, the brain’s “feel good” chemical. And like any other drug, the more dopamine your brain gets, the more it wants.
Plus, when you’re in good shape, your metabolism is more efficient, so your tolerance for alcohol tends to be higher - meaning it takes more booze to feel “buzzed.”
But it should go without saying that heavy drinking is bad for you no matter what shape you’re in, because research shows that it puts you at a higher risk of developing liver disease, diabetes and cancer. Plus, heavy drinking ultimately makes your workouts less effective! That’s because alcohol disrupts the release of hormones that your body needs to build and repair muscle.
Bottom line: Too much booze is bad for your body and your workout.