The use of alcohol is a deep-rooted part of our human culture. It is something that has become almost a norm in our society like eating and drinking. Usually, moderate alcohol drinking is defined as one drink a day for women and a couple of drinks for men. Many believe that moderate alcohol intake lessens the risk of coronary heart illness. Unfortunately, moderate drinking is also linked to several health problems.
Aside from the risk of getting a disease, there are other reasons why we should be careful with drinking alcoholic beverages. This is especially true if you are a fitness and exercise enthusiast. Regardless of the frequency of your exercise, it is crucial to have an understanding of the effects of alcohol in your body as well as in your performance. Taking alcohol could hinder you from reaping the benefits from all the sweat and labor you have invested into exercise.
Alcohol Affects Sleep and Increases the Rate of Weight Gain
A research reveals that 58 percent of subjects were not aware that drinking could be harmful to sleep. Alcohol is both a nervous system depressant and a sedative. This means that while it makes you sleepy, it is costing you rest. Alcohol abuse has a massive impact on stages of sleep. It lessens the sleep and most of the time abruptly awakens you when it is removed from your system.
If you have alcohol in your system, your body is not able to get into the deep Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycles. This is very crucial because this cycle gives you the feeling that you have genuinely rested. In other words, after a night of imbibing, you will wake up tired even if you have spent 12 hours in bed.
According to Harvard Medical School, there is a direct connection between weight gain and lack of sleep. The medical school noted that lack of sleep is one of the major factors that contribute to obesity. When you are deprived of sleep, your system raises the production of cortisol—a stress hormone. Aside from that, it reduces the levels of leptin. This substance is responsible for sending a signal to your brain if you have eaten enough.
Alcohol Increases Your Appetite
Most often, a late night out drinking booze with friends ends up in a convenience store, late night eatery, or burger joint. When you drink alcohol, your appetite is increased. Your body craves for salty food and you will notice that in drinking places, this type of food is abundant.
A research discovered that alcohol taken before a meal heightens caloric intake. The calories that you get from alcohol is greater than what you get from a carbohydrate based drink. In Denmark, researchers found out that, men who drank alcohol increase the amount of food they ate compared to those who drank carbohydrate rich drinks.
Alcohol Decreases Testosterone
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone vital to those who would like to have lean muscles. When you have a lower testosterone level, it means that you will have lesser muscle gain. Since lean muscles speed up the metabolism of the body, you will also have a slower metabolism.
For every extra pound of lean muscle, your body burns 50 extra calories every day. If you have a higher metabolic rate, your body will burn more calories even at rest. If you interfere with your body’s metabolism, you will notice that it will start increasing fat intake. When your system has alcohol, your testosterone is decreased. This impedes the potential of the hormones to burn fat while interfering with your metabolism.
Alcohol Impairs Your Body’s Ability to Mend Injuries
In a normal environment, your body instantly discharges white blood cells to an injured location to help in healing. However, researchers discovered that the body’s natural healing function is greatly affected if the person drinks alcohol. The study noted that the body’s repairing and building muscles significantly slowed down.
The involuntary ability of the body to alert the white blood cells that they are needed at an injured location has radically weakened. When you work out, you tear down muscles, knowing that they will be healed and repaired easily. Alcohol messes with the development of toned muscles, you may not yet notice it now, but you will soon take a toll on your body.
Drinking alcohol dehydrates your body. This is very crucial since dehydration affects almost everything in the body. This includes affecting your mood as well as the facility of the brain to keep memories and process information. The research discovered that dehydration causes instant damage to the brain and can even shrink it. In other words, if you are dehydrated, your ability to learn, your mental alertness, and even your memory will greatly suffer.
Aside from that, dehydrating your brain cells after they have shriveled can cause swelling or cerebral edema. In addition, if you are not properly hydrated, your system will not transport vitamins and minerals that are dissolved by water. In addition, dehydration drains you of your energy, stamina, and motivation.
What You Should Do
It is also important that you take ample amount of water. If you cannot turn down an invitation, or going on an occasional night of drinks and party is inevitable, try giving yourself several days between the night out and going back to your workout regimen.
Drinking is fun and could also be socially rewarding if not done responsibly could cost your body a lot. It is best that you plan ahead for an upcoming drinking session. This way, you can minimize the negative effects of alcohol on your body like poor diet choices, dehydration, and sleep loss. Working out has a lot of benefit to your body, that includes going to the bar, turning heads, and dropping jaws.
Being serious about your workouts does not necessarily mean to completely turn your back to drinking alcohol. That would be the ideal situation; however, it is not realistic for many people. It is important that if you want to get serious results from your workouts, you should limit your alcohol consumption.
Author Bio: Nicole is a freelance writer and educator based in the Michigan and believes that her writing is an extension of her career as a tutor since they both encourage learning and discussing new things. When she isn’t writing, you might find Nicole running, hiking, or swimming. She’s participated in several 10K races and hopes to compete in a marathon one day.