There are days when I come home from work, drop my stuff the minute I walk through the door, and walk right to the fridge to grab the wine. I’m sure some of you do the same. Sometimes you just want a glass to help unwind from the day.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, there will be celebrations, get togethers, and parties galore! So yeah, you are most likely going to enjoy yourself and drink.
Now I am not sure about you but I have always wondered how a glass or two of wine can affect my performance. Especially if I am drinking at night and planning to run the next morning. I’m not throwing back 4+ glasses but still do just a few make any difference?
Alcohol is actually the most consumed drug among athletes and habitual exercisers. So what are the risks? Research has found that consuming fewer than 3 drinks per day can actually offer health benefits. Some benefits include lowering cholesterol levels, protecting bones from thinning, and depending what your drinking, it can also supply your body with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
However, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) issued guidelines to athletes stating that “Psychomotor skills are adversely affected by acute alcohol consumption; maximal aerobic power as assessed by VO2max is minimally influenced with acute alcohol consumption; acute alcohol ingestion is not associated with improvement in exercise capacity and may decrease performance levels; the consumption of alcohol may perturb the body’s temperature regulation mechanisms during exercises particularly in a cold environment.”
A journal entry written by Dietitians posted on the NCAA website states that alcohol is a diuretic that can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause a rapid heart rate, nausea/vomiting and the general feeling of fatigue. Dehydration and alcohol toxicity can also lead to a hangover, which has been reported to decrease aerobic capacity, by 11.4%. Drinking after a performance can negatively affect the recovery process. Your body needs to repair torn muscle fibers, help reduce fatigue and lactic acid build up and prepare itself for another performance. Drinking can stunt this process. Depending upon your drink of choice, it may also be packed with unnecessary calories (especially sugar!). If your body cannot use the additional calories for energy it turns to fat!
General rule of thumb: Avoid drinking 48 hours before performing. Also make sure to stay hydrated when drinking. It is perfectly okay to enjoy yourself especially around the holiday season. But if you know you are running next morning, or in a few days make sure you hydrate and give your body the food it needs to help prepare and limit the alcohol intake.
Happy Running! xx