I bet that you have been through these: you reserved your space of the studio to exercise after work, but your colleagues invited you to a happy hour drink (or two), or you drank a bottle of beer (or more) after a grueling exercise. You exercise, but you are not sure if drinking beer is a good idea.
Beer is not good for athletes
If you are a professional athlete, drinking beer is not a wise choice for you.
Firstly, it puts extra strain on your liver and diverts resources from the rest of your body to metabolize the alcohol. Secondly, alcohol is dehydrating. Dehydration will make it harder for you to recover from your training session. Besides, alcohol is unhelpful to muscle-building and muscle-endurance.
Beer motivates ordinary people to exercise more
But what if you are ordinary people who only want to stay healthy by regular exercise? Here comes the good news: studies show that drinking in moderation may motivate people to exercise more.
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that people who drink regularly are more likely to exercise regularly compared to abstainers.
J. Leigh Leasure, a researcher from the University of Houston, also found that it is common for people who enjoy alcohol to engage in more exercise. Leasure said, “Both alcohol and exercise cause the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. It does make you wonder if people are feeling good when they exercise and people feel good when they have a drink, maybe they continue to seek out that experience.”
Others explained it from the social aspect. Drinking with friends is like a reward after a grueling exercise, which encourages regular exercise, as positive peer pressure is a successful exercise motivator in past studies.
Drinking in moderation
Does it mean that you should drink more since it can motivate exercise? Wrong. Leasure pointed out that it should be “all in moderation”.
So how much beer can be considered moderation? A 2014 study published in Sports Medicine suggested that drinking less than 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is proper. That is roughly two 12oz beers for a 150lb person.
Although research on this topic is limited, the new finding is exciting enough. Now I can answer the question above: if you are ordinary people who want to keep healthy by regular exercise, you can drink one or two beers with your friends after exercise. It may even be a good way to encourage you to exercise more.