The Effects of Alcohol Before or After Exercise: What You Need to Know - IT SPARK Media

The Effects of Alcohol Before or After Exercise: What You Need to Know

The Effects of Alcohol Before or After Exercise: What You Need to Know

You’re at brunch with friends, and mimosas are on the house. You’re tempted, but you also want to go for a run later. What should you do? Will drinking doom your workout?

Despite the popularity of boozy athletic events like Craft Brew Races and Bikes and Beers, exercise physiologists and nutrition experts strongly discourage drinking alcohol before, during, or after exercise. Not only can alcohol affect athletic performance, but it can also make your workouts feel much harder. It’s like trying to do that workout uphill.

While few rigorous clinical trials have studied the effects of alcohol on workouts, the research that does exist indicates that mixing the two can counteract many of the health benefits of exercise or even leave you worse off than if you didn’t exercise at all.

If you like to drink and exercise, you may find yourself considering a cocktail before or after a workout or athletic event. Here are six tips from exercise and nutrition experts on the most strategic ways to have both:

  1. Space out the activities: Drinking immediately before or during a workout can dehydrate you, elevate your heart rate, tire you out faster, slow your reflexes, and make you feel awful. Give yourself at least four hours between drinking and working out if possible.
  2. Limit your intake: Tolerance varies, but as a general rule, limit yourself to one or two drinks before or after a workout.
  3. Pay attention to how you feel: Knowing your limits is crucial. Feeling buzzed or dizzy is a sign that you’ve had enough. Drinking beyond that limit can lead to poor workout performance.
  4. Stay hydrated: Alcohol is a diuretic and can dehydrate you. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water or an electrolyte drink to prevent dehydration.
  5. Choose your drinks wisely: Cocktails high in sugar can cause blood sugar spikes followed by crashes, leaving you feeling more tired. Nonalcoholic beer is an ideal choice.
  6. Listen to your body: If you’re not feeling up to a workout after drinking, it’s okay to skip it. Rest and recover until you feel ready to exercise again.

Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently to alcohol and exercise. It’s essential to understand your own limits and prioritize your health and well-being.