The Alcohol Exercise Connection

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Frank Sinatra once said, Alcohol may be man‘s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy, and Americans have taken to this bit of saying with a vengeance. They nurse drinks on weekends, on holidays and, maybe, even after a hard day‘s work. Their theory is that drinks make them relax, unwind and forget the difficulties staring at them in the face. Well, there are a few factors they need to keep in mind before they go ahead and dunk themselves in a whirlpool of alcohol.  
Let‘s pause a bit here: You may say that since you exercise regularly, a few drinks won‘t hurt your body. But before you pursue this logic and rush out to join your friends in the neighborhood pub, do take a little time and focus on the following factors. Here we go:  
Research indicates that alcohol taken in small quantities may seem to increase stamina and strength. That may be true, but what hasn‘t been spelt out is that these effects are short-lived and last for about 1520 minutes. After that it‘s back to square one when the same old problems begin to show their head. This is the best alcohol can do for you, and you need to understand that the negative effects of alcohol are far greater and can cause immense harm. Whichever way you look at it, consumption of excess alcohol is like pumping toxins into your body.  
Once the initial euphoria of well-being is over, intake of alcohol actually reduces your strength, stamina, aerobic capacity and recovery time. Not only that, it even botches up the processes of fat metabolism and muscle growth. In the long term, alcohol consumption can cause serious damage to the central nervous system and the brain. Even over a short term, alcohol has the potential to weaken both the body and the mind. 
Studies have shown that when alcohol gets into the blood it causes havoc by damaging the blood cells. Also, inflammation of the muscle cells is fairly frequent among habitual alcohol drinkers. In the long run these muscle cells wear out and die, making muscle contractions inefficient. Also, alcohol increases the soreness of the muscles after a workout  a soreness that takes a very long time to heal.  
Alcohol can also gravely impact your heart and the circulatory system, keeping your damage-repairing white blood cells busy all the time. Whenever you consume alcohol your blood vessels begin to dilate, causing greater body heat loss. The heat loss causes your muscles to go cold, making muscle contractions during workout weak and slow. Can you ever imagine building a good body if you have slow-to-respond and weak muscles? 
Even the digestive system is affected adversely by alcohol. Alcohol drastically raises the blood sugar and blood insulin levels, facilitating fat storage and ultimately leading to obesity. As alcohol interferes in the absorption of several important nutrients, it can cause severe nutritional deficiencies (particularly B vitamins) and make you anemic too.  
The liver processes alcohol and detoxifies the body  but there is only so much the liver can do. If you drink substantially and regularly, then your liver has to work its back off trying to process all that alcohol. Due to this, the liver comes under serious stress and starts malfunctioning. 
Alcohol is a diuretic  therefore, excessive intake of alcohol places a heavy load on your kidneys as well and causes dehydration. The body then tries to compensate for that by retaining as much fluid as possible, causing water retention. Now, when you are exercising you can literally feel this “extra fluid” load in your body, and that kind of kills off the exercise mood.  
To sum up, if you cannot do without alcohol, then have it in moderation. But never drink before exercising  there must be a considerable time gap between the two  because alcohol impairs your judgment ability as well as your body balance and muscle coordination. You may end up doing the exercises in a wrong way and hurt yourself. So, it‘s time to start thinking of your health first before you go for that glass of alcohol. 


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