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Alcohol and Fitness: Does having a drink kill my fitness goals?

We all know, either from personal experience or listening to others’ stories, that going overboard on alcoholic drinks is not good for the body; but what about drinking moderately? There have definitely been studies indicating benefits from having a drink, such as stress reduction and a good source of nutrients. For example, a glass of red wine is a rich source of potassium, which has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), alcohol present in the system (at low levels) has been shown to produce negative effects on jump height, long distance spring performance and increase fatigue in high-intensity exercise. Interestingly, the ACSM also mentioned that alcohol has not shown to have an effect on strength is some muscle groups and muscular endurance.

However, serving size plays a major role, as well. For example, the recommended serving size for a glass of wine is five ounces—that is slightly above a half cup. Most wine glasses have a volume around 12-14 ounces, so one should only fill the wine glass about a third of the way up to the brim. Consuming more alcohol may dissipate the potential benefits that were mentioned earlier, and magnify the consequences.

Additionally, alcohol’s diuretic properties must be considered if you choose to have a drink prior to taking on an aerobic workout, such as jogging. Drinking plenty of water may minimize the potential of suffering from dehydration during training, but the potential of gastrointestinal troubles may increase, as well.

Ultimately, the decision to have an alcoholic drink is the individual’s. Nonetheless, the costs and benefits, as well as serving size, must be carefully considered.


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