How Does Alcohol Affect Exercise?

Young girls drinking alcohol

It’s finally Friday, and you just got off work. Now you’re thinking about going out later and having a few drinks with your friends and relaxing. After all, you worked hard all week, and you certainly deserve a little enjoyment and fun. Now that the weekend’s here, so there’s nothing wrong with going out and having a few drinks with your friends, right?

Anyway, like always, tomorrow is a workout day, and since you exercise regularly and take care of yourself a little alcohol won’t hurt anything, right? Well, before you head out to the pub. Here are a few things to consider in deciding just how much you want to drink.



  • Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Your Muscles

Studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol increase muscular endurance and strength output. However, these benefits are very short lived. After around twenty or so minutes, the problems start. All the adverse side effects of alcohol entirely outweigh any possible benefits it can have on anyone. Alcohol is a toxin (poison), and so a whole host of physical abnormalities can arise.

These can reduce your strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aerobic capacity, ability to metabolize fat and muscle growth. Alcohol can also affect your nervous system and brain. Long-term use can cause severe deterioration of your central nervous system. With short-term use, a nerve-muscle interaction can be reduced resulting in a loss of strength.

The Weakness in Muscles!

When alcohol reaches the muscle cells, it can cause damage to them. Inflammation of the muscle cells is common among alcohol users. Over the long term, some of these damaged cells can die resulting in less functional muscle contractions. Alcohol will also leave you with more muscle soreness after exercise making recuperation periods longer.


  • Side Effects of Alcohol on Your Organs

Alcohol has many effects on your heart and circulatory system as well. You may see a reduction in your endurance capacities when you drink alcohol. When drinking alcohol, your heat loss increases, because alcohol stimulates your blood vessels to dilate. This heat loss can cause your muscles to get cold thus becoming slower and weaker during contractions.


Digestive and Nutritional Problems

Alcohol can cause digestive and nutritional problems as well. Alcohol causes a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen. Thereby sparing fat making fat loss more difficult. Because liquor also can interfere with the absorption of many nutrients, you can become anemic and deficient in the B vitamins. Since your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder your liver has to work. Also, the extra stress can damage and even destroy some liver cells.


What Happens to Our Kidneys?

Alcohol is also diuretic. So large amounts can put a lot of extra stress on your kidneys. During the diuretic action, ant diuretic hormones are secreted. This can result in heightened water retention and no one who exercises wants that to happen.
Alcohol, although having no nutritional value, also has seven calories per gram so excess consumption can lead to weight gain as well.


If you must consume alcohol, do so in moderation and never drink alcohol right before exercise. So this will impair your balance, coordination, and judgment. Remember this, if you’ve taken the time to make an effort to improve your physical conditioning and your overall health, why take significant steps backward and impede you improvements by excess consumption of alcohol?