Alcohol as Exercise Motivator

According to a recent study, people who drink alcoholic beverages regularly may be more likely than teetotalers to exercise – and the more they drink, the more they are likely to workout.

"A possible motivation is that people who consume alcohol recognize that it contains a fair number of calories, so they exercise to counteract caloric intake. Michael T. French, PhD, of the University of Miami, speculates, adding that "Those who drink without misusing it may be interested in balancing their life."

French and his colleagues examined data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and found that "a strong statistical association" between alcohol use and moderate to vigorous exercise.

The study which was published in the September-October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion stated that:

Compared with non-drinkers or abstainers, light drinkers exercised 5.7 more minutes per week, moderate drinkers 10.1 more minutes, and heavy drinkers 19.9 more minutes.

Women who drink alcohol exercised 7.2 more minutes per week than abstainers, while men exercised 5.5 more minutes than their abstaining counterparts.

For both men and women, drinking was linked to 10 percent increase in the probability of engaging in vigorous exercise.

People who had not drunk alcohol in the 30 days prior to being surveyed were considered abstainers. Drinkers were classified as light, moderate, or heavy drinkers based on the number of alcoholic drinks they consumed in the last 30 days:

Light drinkers

  • Women: 1-14 drinks
  • Men: 1-29 drinks

Moderate drinkers

  • Women: 15-45 drinks
  • Men: 30-75 drinks

Heavy drinkers

  • Women: 46 or more drinks
  • Men: 76 or more drinks

French says, "The message here is not to use alcohol to improve your exercise." He adds that benefits of more exercise do not make up for health problems associated with heavy drinking. French says though, that "responsible" drinking may be advantageous.

Source: WebMD