Can you be fit and drink alcohol?Here’s how alcohol impacts your fitness routine

Moderate alcohol consumption provides a few benefits like the risk of dying due to heart attack is less, diabetes can be controlled to some extent and possibly reduces the risk of brain stroke.

But it is important that you also eat healthily and stay active to avoid any risks of damage to your health that could be caused due to excessive drinking during the festival.

If alcohol is not consumed in a safe and proper quantity, it can cause immense damage to your health.

Binge drinking can be very dangerous for you.

More than four or five drinks come under binge drinking and can cause a lot of harm to your body and mind.

Excessive drinking can result in serious health issues like cancer, suicide, liver failure, kidney failure, brain stroke, heart failure, accidents, sudden death, high blood pressure and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

It can also cause severe digestive problems.

Here are the five ways in which alcohol affects our workouts:

Dehydration stations

When the skin is akin to the Sahara, you know that last night’s mojitos have had their wicked way with you.

Alcohol is a diuretic and drains moisture from the body.

90 per cent of hangover symptoms present as a direct result of dehydration.

Water is key for keeping our bodies in healthy working order—that’s not breaking news—but it also helps to regulate its temperature, which can make exercise tricky if we are dehydrated.

If alcohol is in your system, your heart rate will increase faster than usual and your body’s temperature will significantly rise, making exercise uncomfortable.

You’ll also sweat more than you’re used to which will dehydrate your body further.

If you are drinking, try and alternate your alcoholic drink with a glass of water, which won’t stop dehydration but will help to ease it.

Muscle fatigue

The culprit behind cramp, lactic acid, builds up when we drink alcohol which means that we’re far more likely to experience some more painful moments during our workouts when hungover.

Other inevitabilities are muscle fatigue and a lack of growth hormones, which are vital for both building muscle and repairing it.

If you consistently drink, your recovery time post-workout will be a long one and it will be very difficult to build muscle in general.

Sugar spikes

Alcohol is often laden with sugar and when a foodstuff contains such a high glycaemic load, it rapidly turns into glucose once fully digested.

This sudden spike means the body suffers inflammation, which can lead to water retention, bloating and fatigue as it drops again—none of which make way for an easy workout session.

Try to avoid wines, cocktails or drinks with syrups if you’re planning to exercise in the days after drinking—they are full of sugar and will greatly affect your workout.

A reduced metabolism

Thanks to the stress alcohol causes the digestive system, the stomach and intestines become lazy.

As digestive secretions slack, the rate at which the body absorbs essential nutrients also decreases, which causes the metabolism to slow.

Try opting for food high in nutrients (such as nuts and dark green vegetables) pre-alcohol, to help the digestive system function at its best—it will help limit the effects on the metabolism.

Unhealthy cravings

The next day after a few drinks often comes with a barrage of cravings for fatty foods.

Alcohol encourages a chemical in the brain called galanin to surge, which causes us to crave foods that are rich in fats.

That feeling of sluggishness and a diet devoid of nutrients means our bodies aren’t fuelled in the right way, and exercise will be tough.

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