Alcohol And Exercise


 Alcohol And Exercise

Do you love the taste of wine? The way it warms your throat? You aren't alone. Alcohol is the most popular recreational drug in the world - 89% of people worldwide have had a drink at some point in their lives.

Despite its prevalence, alcohol consumption has proven to be very bad for health, especially when combined with exercise. While moderate drinking is believed to have some health benefits, it also carries risk of multiple cancers and can lead to higher rates of disease and injury. For this reason many people turn to other forms of alcoholic drinks that are less harmful than beer or spirits such as red wine and cava which have shown to reduce cardiovascular risks when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Whether you are a healthy athlete looking to drink sensibly or just an occasional drinker with an interest in your health, there are good and bad ways to enjoy alcohol. This article will tell you everything you need to know about drinking before and after exercise.

What Happens When You Drink?

Before we discuss the negative effects of alcohol, let's understand how it works in the body. The main active metabolite in alcohol is believed to be acetaldehyde which is toxic and can cause liver damage. Alcohol absorption begins in the mouth where it is dissolved into saliva and from here it enters the small intestine where it reaches the bloodstream within 20 minutes. In the bloodstream, alcohol can be broken down by a number of enzymes through oxidation (the chemical reaction in which a substance changes into another substance) or reduction. The amount of alcohol that reaches the liver after being processed by these enzymes is dependent on how quickly they work and how fast your body is able to absorb and metabolize it.

When you consume alcohol it first enters your stomach where it will be converted to acetaldehyde as mentioned earlier. Your body can break down acetaldehyde before it can reach the rest of the body but at this stage, any damage done has been done and won't harm you further. However, when acetaldehyde reaches the liver it is much more toxic than before. At this point, the liver is responsible for processing it and metabolizing it into acetate which is a much safer substance.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, some people believe that exercising after consuming alcohol can help you detoxify faster. But because your body is still processing the toxins of alcohol, exercise won't make them easier to remove. Also do not confuse your body's ability to break down alcohol with your body's ability to handle exercise - even if you have burned off the alcohol in your system, drinking can still be harmful and will impair your health.

How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

Drinking limits are different for everyone depending on gender, age, medical conditions and other factors. However, there are certain guidelines that can help you decide how much alcohol is safe for you. A general rule is not to have more than one drink per day if you are a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you are a man. A drink can be anywhere from one to 14 grams of alcohol depending on the type of drink. One glass of wine, beer or spirit is considered one drink, and a standard drink in the United States contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Why Is Alcohol Bad For You?

Alcohol does have some health benefits but when it comes to exercise these advantages are outweighed by the negative consequences. Even if you are drinking in moderation, alcohol can still cause liver damage and affect other organs. The same goes for occasional drinkers - one night of heavy drinking can affect your health even if it's not an everyday occurrence. Here's why alcohol is bad for you:

Harms Your Liver

Your liver is responsible for processing toxins in your body such as alcohol. The more often you drink, the quicker your liver will become damaged and the earlier this will start to affect your health. It is estimated that up to half of all alcohol-related liver disease occurs between 5 and 10 years after the first drink. In extreme cases, damage may even occur before you've had your first drink.

Increases Stroke Risk

Alcohol affects many parts of the body which can lead to injuries or damage in other areas. Liver toxicity such as fatty changes and inflammation are two examples of this. One study showed that alcohol consumption was positively correlated with stroke risk in women and men over the age of 45 years.

Increases Risk of Cancer

Alcohol consumption has a direct correlation to cancer risk. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that the more alcohol a person drinks, the higher their risk of developing cancer is.There was an increased risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx and liver cancer. Cancer can be caused by a number of factors such as genetic predisposition and lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking. However, even in cases where the main cause is not alcohol consumption, people who drink also experience earlier onset of cancer symptoms than non-drinkers. Alcohol causes an increase in liver enzymes which can lead to problems such as cirrhosis which leads to cell death.

Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

Studies show that people who consume alcohol regularly have higher risks of heart disease. The combination of high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and fatty deposits in your body are all factors that can be attributed to drinking alcohol. Also eating salty snacks while drinking can lead to further problems as your liver is already having to deal with the effects of alcohol consumption. You should avoid both drinking and eating while inebriated as this can cause further heart problems.

Can Cause Liver Disease

Alcohol has been shown to have 'toxic effects' on the liver due to its ability to increase oxidative stress and reactivate viruses such as hepatitis C. This effect is not only seen in those who consume alcohol regularly but in those who overdose on alcohol. Alcohol slows down the liver's ability to process toxins and fats, which can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits.

Ways To Protect Your Health While Drinking

Now that you know how harmful drinking alcohol can be, here are some steps that you can take to protect your health:

1) Follow The Safe Drinking Limits - It's important to know what your body is capable of handling and it's better to err on the side of caution instead of underestimating yourself. If you are unsure about your limits, you can speak with a medical professional.


Alcohol has a place in our society but its role is not one to be taken lightly. Everything in moderation is the best way to approach drinking. Your body is capable of handling some alcohol consumption but it's important to know how much is too much. If you find yourself feeling sicker than usual after drinking, then you may need to re-evaluate your drinking habits and cut back before it's too late!

Resources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

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