Reduce alcohol, improve your fitness

It can feel good to have a few drinks to kick back and relax but did you know that alcohol can impede our performance and enjoyment of exercise?

Alcohol does a number of things to our bodies that are detrimental to our strength, speed and ability when it comes to exercise. Some effects are greater than others. 

Dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic. It makes our kidneys produce more urine which, when combined with sweating from exercise makes dehydration more likely. This can compromise an abundance of blood flow to the muscles which in turn compromises performance. 

Slows metabolism. Alcohol intake causes insulin secretion which then leads to low blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are low, our strength and speed is compromised.  

Slowed responses. It can impede our motor-skills, balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction times. This can lead to poor performance and even injury. 

Disrupted sleep. Not only does it rob us of restorative REM sleep, it can disrupt the secretion of growth hormones which slows muscle repair. Less sleep = reduced sporting performance. 

Cardiac stress. Alcohol increases our risk of unusual heart rhythms, this combined with the natural stress that exercise puts on the heart puts undue strain on this vital organ.  

We should also note that alcoholic drinks not only carry many calories themselves, they often weaken our resolve, leading many of us to make unwise food choices. If we’re trying to lose weight, cutting alcohol out or reducing it greatly can help. For optimum performance,  it’s recommended we steer clear of alcohol the day before intense exercise. 

Looking to reduce your alcohol intake? If you’re a Nottingham City resident, our Wellbeing Coaching programme offers the support and guidance you need. Explore personalised strategies to help you drink less and improve your overall wellbeing. Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle