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Reasons Why Drinking Alcohol Before Exercising Is Hazardous

Updated on August 31, 2015

Is Drinking Alcohol Safe Before Exercising?

Life can be frustrating and you deserve to have a few nights out for a drink but when you do it before doing any muscular exercise the next day, you’re in for a real trouble. Combining alcohol and exercise is a real health hazard. You may think a little drink can’t harm you since you will be exercising, but it may surprise you to prove that you’re wrong there.

Research had proven that even just a small dose of alcohol has its negative effect on increase muscular endurance and strength and even if taken lightly, these negative effects will surely outweigh the healthful benefits of doing your exercises.

Reasons to Avoid Alcohol When Exercising

Effects on the Nervous System

Alcohol is a poison in disguise. Taking alcohol even in minimal amount can do damage to your whole nervous system, the Central (Brain and Spinal Cord) and Peripheral Nervous System (neurons or nerves). Our Central Nervous System (CNS) is responsible in taking in information, deciphering it and sends signals through a network of nerves to every part of our body. Alcohol does damage to our whole nervous system by contracting brain tissues, damaging brain cells and depressing the whole nervous system causing a delay in its activity. Since the Central Nervous System is responsible in controlling our motor function, as well as thinking, understanding, reasoning and emotion, it can affect our exercise activity.

Alcohol lessens your strength, decrease agility or aerobic motion, impair judgment and delay response activity of the body. Though, with a less amount of alcohol taken in, alcohol drinkers say that their brain is even more active, body coordination is far from being normal. Imagine yourself at risk when you have all the above condition while doing some exercising. It’s always possible that you will end up putting yourself in great danger while lifting your weights.

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Effects on the Circulatory System

It is said that a glass of any distilled spirit on an adult can have its beneficial effect on the heart. When taken in recommended amount, alcohol can keep the right amount of fat present in the blood, lowering the risk of blocked arteries or blood clot and make the heart function properly. However, drinking more than 2 glasses of alcohol each day hampers the normal activity of the circulatory system, particularly the heart.

If the heart does not function properly, it will cause other organs to be deprived of the needed oxygen and nutrients which is circulated by the blood to other parts of the body. If this happens, some cells and tissues are damaged and there is also a higher risk of blocked blood vessels.

The presence of blood clot or blocked arteries will eventually lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. Having a high blood is not conducive to doing some exercise especially heavy muscular ones. If this condition continues, you will also develop heart failure and will make you prone to a heart attack. I’m sure this is one condition you wouldn’t want to put yourself into.

Another effect of breakage in a blood vessel is internal hemorrhage especially in the stomach and esophagus and this can even lead you to death unless treated immediately.

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Effects on the Endocrine System

Interfere with Calcium and other Nutrients Absorption

Drinking alcohol can devoid your body of nutrients as alcohol can interfere in the absorption of calcium and other nutrients badly needed by the body. Calcium is one of these nutrients and is important in having strong bones which is largely in use when you are exercising. Long-term drinking of alcohol will lead to a continuous deprivation of calcium to your body and will soon result to a condition called osteoporosis, a disease in which bone density declines. There is always a greater possibility for bone fractures in the ribs, hips or waist when your bones are not strong enough to contain the specific strength needed in exercising. Often times, osteoporosis is prevalent in women who have gone through the menopausal stage.

Since other nutrients are not absorbed by the body, you may also put yourself at risk of anemia and other nutrient deficiency related illness.

Causes to Release of Insulin

Alcohol can cause your sugar level to rise and since your pancreas automatically released insulin to lower down your sugar level. The more alcohol you take, the more insulin will be released and this could lead to a low sugar level that can put your health at risk.

Damaged your Liver and Kidney

Your liver is the one which is responsible in detoxifying your alcohol content in the body. The more alcohol you have, the more you expose it to work and stress and this can seriously damage your liver cells.

Your kidney, on the other hand, filters harmful substances in your blood and this includes alcohol. With the presence of alcohol in your blood, it is likely to make changes in its function and makes it less capable of filtering. Kidney also makes sure that there is right amount of water in your body and the presence of alcohol which is a dehydrating substance (alcohol has the ability to dehydrate faster than other liquids), affects the ability of the kidney to function normally. This condition also affects the function of other cells and organs as well.


Habitual drinking causes liver disorder. Since it is the kidney’s job to maintain the level of blood flow in your body, the presence of liver disorder impairs this function, leaving it affected as well.

Drinking Alcohol and Working Out Bad Idea - Mistake!

A variety of alcoholic drinks.
A variety of alcoholic drinks.

Effects on the Muscular System

Drinking alcohol even hours before doing your regular exercise will leave you with soreness, indicating that it takes longer for your muscular cells to recuperate than it normally does. Inflammation of muscular cells is common to alcohol drinkers and some of these damaged cells will eventually die in the long run.

Once you drink alcohol, you may observe that there is a reduction in your endurance. This is because alcohol increases your body heat loss, making your blood vessel to dilate and your muscles slower and weaker to contract.

When you drink any type of alcohol, you may begin to see a reduction in your endurance capability. Every time you take in alcohol, your heat loss will increase as the alcohol simulating your blood vessels to dilate and leaving your muscles to feel cold thereby making is slower and weaker. According to a report by Virginia Tech, too much drinking will develop a loss of muscle mass. For body builders and gym enthusiasts, drinking alcohol can ultimately reverse the effect of hard work they had invested in building up muscle mass to attain a nice muscular body and tone. Women are more likely to be affected by this since they have lesser muscle mass than men.

Try Doing This

Now, you can see that alcohol does not only affect one part of your body since all parts are interrelated and integrated into one whole mechanism, the human body system. Exercising can never put into balance or put back into normal the negative effects that alcohol had done to your body. So if you intend to stay healthy and strong, get away from drinking alcohol. If you value the benefit it can give you, then you may drink but not more than the recommended amount of one glass a day.

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