People who exercise to achieve or maintain physical fitness may reach for an alcoholic drink after a workout thinking a cold beer or glass of wine will help them relax and unwind. Before taking that first sip, stop and consider the facts. Alcohol has many negative effects on the brain and can hinder physical performance.

Before reaching for a drink, think about these effects alcohol can have on physical fitness goals:

  • It negatively impacts coordination, cognitive precision, reaction times, balance, and hand-eye coordination. Alcohol may also slow respiratory function, making it difficult to regulate body temperature, increasing the risk of dehydration. The result is a significant decrease in reaction abilities, both physical and mental, critical in athletic activities.
  • Drinking alcohol can undo the positive results of a hard workout. Alcohol interferes with body functions needed for muscle growth and recovery. Alcohol impairs sleep and decreases the body’s level of human growth hormone (HGH), which is needed to build bigger, stronger muscles.
  • Alcoholic drinks tend to be high in calories and sugar which can lead to weight gain. A shot (1.5 ounces) contains about 100 calories. One beer every night adds more than 1,000 calories per week and can add an additional 15 pounds of belly fat per year

Consider whether having that drink is really worth it.  It negatively affects fitness and wellness goals and makes it hard to perform or reach one’s best. Know the effects of alcohol use on your mind and body.

For additional information, contact your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center.