Is your personal trainer filling your bottle with tequila? Not quite. Although according to a new University of Miami study published in the September/October issue of American Journal of Health Promotion, the more alcohol people drink the harder they exercise.
Dr. David Baron, chief of staff at the Santa Monica/UCLA Medical Center comments:
“We normally would associate a ‘healthier lifestyle’ with both exercise and moderation in alcohol consumption. The results are not what people would have expected.”
Dr. Baron, a Patients’ Choice doctor according to Vitals.com, received his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania and completed a residency program at Santa Monica Hospital.
The researchers examined data from participants in the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a yearly telephone survey of about 230,000 Americans. The data showed that the amount of time people devoted to exercise inched up along with the number of alcoholic drinks they consumed each month.
Those considered heavy drinkers, consuming at least 46 drinks a month for women and 76 drinks for me, exercised for an average of 20 minutes more per week. Moderate drinkers, consuming at least 15-45 drinks for women and 30-75 drinks for men, got an extra 10 minutes of exercise per week.
Both moderate and heavy drinkers were 10 percent more likely than non drinkers to exercise vigorously in any given week. Many chose to engage in adventurous activities such as skiing, rock climbing, kayaking or deep sea diving. Others preferred team sports, followed by a trip to the bar no matter who won or lost.
Researchers stated the association but were unable to explain why these oddly paired behaviors seemed to go together.
“The link, whatever it is, remains somewhat of a mystery,” states Dr. Baron.
Several reasons were suggested to explain this phenomenon. Exercise was probably being used to counteract the calories consumed by alcoholic binges. Also certain personality types are known to play hard, drink hard and are more hard core in their choices of exercising. Anyone who takes pleasure in the rush of endorphins will also enjoy the buzz of heavy drinking. Finally the social aspect of team sports followed by post-game beers is as American as apple pie.
Researchers were quick to point out that they were not suggesting that drinking alcohol is the key to an active lifestyle. Despite their findings, they stressed that overdrinking outweighs the benefits of exercise and causes numerous health problems such as cancer, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver. This behavior may also damage work and personal relationships, leading to serious psychological damage.
In other words it’s a fine line that’s being treaded. Which leads to the question, do heavy drinkers falling off the treadmill bounce higher than non drinkers?