How does a margarita right after your post-workout shower sound? You might think that you’ve certainly earned a bit of reward for being active, so perhaps a little treat is entirely in order. Whether or not that sounds like you, researchers have found that we are more likely to drink alcohol on days we work out. We mostly don’t put the two activities together because not many people go straight from the gym to the bar. Instead, we often go to the gym and drink that evening. Recognizing this relationship, however, is important in mitigating the negative effects of drinking alcohol on the beneficial effects of exercise.
Keeping track of your reps and your rounds
Working out “whenever” is not a very good plan for getting in better shape. Logging your exercise and tracking your improvement is. We’re growing increasingly accustomed to using technology to improve our success in exercise. That’s an important part of the Fitness section of Olumia Life in fact. That said, keeping track of our alcohol consumption doesn’t usually go beyond the night it occurs. Drinking doesn’t really follow a routine in most people’s lives apart from happening more often on the weekend than otherwise. (And really, if you have a drinking routine, you may want to consider cutting back on that.)
A recent study out of Northwestern University looked at the correlation between exercise and alcohol. It found that we are most likely to work out on the same days we are most likely to drink, i.e., Thursday through Sunday.
According to the lead author of the study, David E. Conroy, “We zoomed in the microscope and got a very up-close and personal look at these behaviors on a day-to-day basis and see it’s not people who exercise more drink more—it’s that on days when people are more active they tend to drink more than on days they are less active. This finding was uniform across study participants of all levels of physical activity and ages.”
Treating yourself for a job well done helps maintain motivation and engagement in your healthy lifestyle, but you need to gauge just how much reward you allow yourself. While there are news stories about the benefits of something like red wine, the truth is that, no matter how you consume it (liquor, beer, etc.), alcohol is a net negative to your health. Alcohol is generally metabolized the same as fructose. That’s not the best company, and, like fructose, alcohol is more often stored as fat, obviously not the best thing if your goal is losing weight.
The next step
Olumia Life certainly doesn’t forbid drinking alcohol. That said, there’s no point in trying to delude yourself into thinking it is actually healthy to drink. If and when you do plan on drinking, you should also plan on that being your Cheat Half-Day for the week. Avoid drinking to excess with any kind of regularity as well (even if it is wedding season). In fact, it’s worth writing down what you’ve drunk for a week or two, just to give yourself an idea of your true habits.
The most important take-away from the recent news on drinking and exercising is that we probably need to pay more attention to what, how much and how often we drink in terms of diet. Mindfulness plays a key role in staying healthy, so keep your habits in mind.
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