Exercise – And The Effects of Alcohol on The Body

Everyone wants to stay fit and health don’t they? But we all have our own struggles with it. For some, it might be snacks like crisp and chocolate for others it could be fast food and takeaways but one of the biggest issues many people have when it comes to staying fit and healthy is alcohol.

Plenty of us like a drink or two every now and again but few of us realise just how much of an effective alcohol can have on our bodies. Exercise comes in many forms and it doesn’t matter if you’re a regular gym-goer, a casual jogger, swimmer, or budding sports star.

Whatever kind of physical exercise you do it will almost always be impacted in some way by alcohol consumption. But just how much of an effect will it have? Well, there are numerous variables to consider like the beverage and the quantity. But all alcohol will have some level of impact.

Alcohol is a diuretic which means it causes an increased passing of urine and this isn’t going to be something you want while exercising. The increased urine also means your kidneys will be under greater stress and this can quickly cause you to become dehydrated especially during more strenuous exercise.

Good hydration is essential when it comes to exercising and you won’t get that if you exercise too soon after drinking alcohol. Another problem is alcohol causes issues with blood sugar. When you drink alcohol, it needs to be broken down in your body while doing this your liver won’t be able to produce as much glucose.

This will mean lower levels of blood sugar and therefore less energy. So, yes alcohol consumption before exercise will be a very bad idea. It will affect your dexterity, concentration, and reaction time. It will also impact your coordination which can be potentially dangerous in certain exercises.

How long does alcohol stay in the body?

So, if you have drunk an excessive amount of alcohol you shouldn’t really attempt to exercise. But how long will the alcohol remain in your body? This will vary from person to person and the amount/ type of alcohol consumed. 

On average around 1 unit of alcohol is broken down in an hour. But the effects of alcohol can be felt for much longer, after all, there is a reason the whole “morning after” phrase exists. So, it is therefore advised that you don’t drink the night before you plan to exercise in any form.

If you have consumed a moderate to high level of alcohol then you should wait at least 24 hours before undertaking any exercise. Even if you feel relatively fine and have no noticeable feelings of a hangover you should still wait.

Rushing to exercise after drinking too much is just going to leave you feeling worn out and tired and you could potentially hurt yourself. So, it is also advised to wait at least 24 hours if you consume at least a moderate amount of alcohol.

How many calories?

So, now you know how alcohol can impact your exercise performance but what about looking at it from a health perspective? Well, we all know alcohol isn’t the healthiest, don’t we? From a calorie perspective, things don’t look good on average there around 7 calories per gram of alcohol.

So, a glass of beer or wine is going to have quite a few calories and when you consider most people won’t stop at just one drink those calories can add up. To confound the issue further many of these calories are empty.

This might sound like a good thing but an empty calorie as no nutritional value what so ever. Most people realise things like a cheese burger or pizza are full of calories, but a glass of alcohol doesn’t look that bad does it? Which can lead to many people piling on the calories without realising it.

There is some good news though because many of these exercise and health-related alcohol issues can be combatted by switching over to alcohol-free beverages instead. You’ll get the same taste but none of the empty calories or negative effects. So, you will still be able to exercise effectively afterward.

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