Monday, December 14, 2009
Alcohol Consumption Greater in Athletes?
A study published by the Department of Sociology at the University of Miami compared alcohol consumption rates to the amount of physical activity men and women engaged in. They evaluated these habits for more than 230,850 males and females. They found no differences between sexes. Their research showed individuals who drink exercised an average of 7.2 more minutes than those who abstained from alcohol. When compared with abstainers, light, moderate and heavy drinkers exercised 5.7, 10.1 and 19.9 more minutes per week. They concluded that alcohol consumption and physical activity were positively correlated. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that males limit their alcohol intake to two servings/day and females one serving/day. One serving is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5.5 ounces of wine or 1 ½ ounces of spirits. Athletes need to adhere to these guidelines since alcohol in excess is dehydrating, reduces effectiveness of workouts, raises blood pressure, creates vitamin and mineral deficiencies and eventually impacts the livers ability to maximize glycogen (energy) storage. Athletes who drink after especially hard workouts need to make sure they rehydrate well with water first so they don’t end up substituting alcoholic beverages to quench their thirst.