Running and Drinking
When you get out of work, do you head home to go for a run or do you go out for a few drinks with your friends or coworkers?
If you go out for drinks regularly, you may be sabotaging your workout plans. Before you decide to go to the local bar or kick back with a tall one tonight, there are a few things you should bear in mind first.
Research shows that while small amounts of alcohol increase muscular endurance and strength, those benefits are very short-lived. After twenty minutes, the problems of having alcohol in your system begin to surface. All of the negative side effects associated with alcohol can easily outweigh any potential benefits. Alcohol is a poison that can really harm your body if you consume it in large quantities or on a regular basis.
Alcohol can damage your metabolize fat and grow muscle, reduce your strength and endurance, and decrease your aerobic capabilities. It will also increase the amount of time that you need to recover from your runs and will affect your nervous system and brain.
If you overindulge, it can lead to severe deterioration of your central nervous system and even with infrequent use can cause a loss of strength by reducing the nerve-muscle interaction.
Inflammation occurs when the alcohol in your drink reaches your blood cells. Over time, muscle contractions become less functional as some of those cells that have been damaged will die. Drinking regularly will also leave you with more pain in your muscles after exercise, which means that you'll have problems during the recovery process and be more sore on top of it taking longer before you are ready for your next run.
Drinking heavily will also have many different effects on your cardiovascular system as well. When you drink, you can begin to see a reduction in your endurance and your heat loss increases due to the alcohol causing your blood vessels to dilate, which is especially a problem in the winter.
Drinking can also lead to nutritional and digestive problems as well by causing a release of insulin and makes fat loss difficult and by interfering with the absorption of several important nutrients, causing you to potentially become anaemic & deficient in B-type vitamins.
The more you drink, the harder your liver and kidneys have to work. Your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol and the extra stress it undergoes can cause damage or even destroy a part of your liver cells. Your kidneys have to go in overdrive, leading to increased hormone secretion and water retention.
If you run after drinking too much, you might find that your coordination and balance are off as well as your ability to make good decisions. This makes going out more dangerous than it otherwise might be, especially if you run over technical terrain or near traffic.
An occasional drink with a meal isn't going to cause any problems and may even have some health benefits, but binge drinking or over-imbibing on a frequent basis is not going to help you become a better runner and could have serious side effects on your health down the road.