Alcohol has different effects from person to person, but when it comes to physical activity, alcohol can negatively impact an individual’s motor control, hydration level, balance, and even muscle recovery. 

Alcohol and fitness usually don’t go well together, especially when excessive alcohol consumption is involved. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is a direct link between alcohol use and injuries as well as a decrease in performance quality when exercising.  

Since alcohol is a sedative, it slows down body functions, decreases hand-eye coordination, weakens judgment, and delays reaction time. When a person is physically active, these bodily functions are needed to carry normal day-to-day tasks. 

Alcohol use has the potential to decrease a person’s overall health and can prevent an individual from reaching his/her fitness goal. 

Does Alcohol Affect Your Fitness?

According to research, even small doses of alcohol before performing any exercise decrease the body’s endurance. It can also lead the body to metabolize alcohol more, rather than carbohydrates and lipids, which are the main energy sources of a person when performing any extraneous activity.   

On the other hand, drinking alcohol after a workout can delay the body’s recovery process, especially since it dehydrates you. Drinking alcohol will reduce the body’s ability to create protein, which is extremely vital to repair muscle tissues that are damaged during exercise. This can cause overall body fatigue and will affect your physical performance in the long run.

Alcohol is a depressant that slows you down. It is prone to impair body coordination, balance, and right judgment when consumed. This means that drinking alcohol before any workout can lead you to hurt yourself and others. It is also not the substance you should consume if you want an ideal workout session, because alcohol compromises your endurance, reaction time, and strength.

The advised course of action before and after any physical fitness routine is to replenish carbs and electrolytes and rehydrate. 

Does Alcohol Slow Weight Loss? 

When a person drinks right before or after a workout, their weight loss goals can be compromised. Alcohol has a lot of empty calories that don’t give your body any nutrients at all. In a 12-ounce can of beer, there are 155 calories, and in a 5-ounce glass of red wine, there are over 125 calories. This means that every time you decide to go binge drinking, you are consuming a couple of hundred calories that do not give any nourishing value.

Alcoholic drinks also tend to have mixers of sugary liquid to improve the taste of the substance. Drinking sugary beverages after physical activity stops the fat-burning process of the body, halting your progress on your physique when working out in the gym. 

When you drink alcohol, it’s the first element the body burns before it processes any other substance, including glucose from your carbohydrates and lipids from fats. This results in excess glucose and lipids left as fat in your system. Excessive alcohol drinking also creates that “beer belly” stomach. This is the extra calories left in the body that are turned into fats, and it tends to gather up in the person’s abdominal area. 

In terms of food, when people are intoxicated their appetite can change drastically. People are prone to eat different food and snacks along with alcohol, and this contributes to excess fat in the body. 

Alcohol substances can also affect an individual’s hormones in charge of the body’s metabolic processes. This can result in the body’s high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high sugar levels.

How Does Alcohol Ruin Your Body? 

Excessive alcohol use is one of the most serious health risks in the world. 

When mixing drinking with physical fitness, there are certain consequences felt by the body. Physical exertion can lead to dehydration because of sweat excreted in the process. Any beverage with at least 4% alcohol can trigger the decrease of the production of the antidiuretic hormone that the body uses to reabsorb liquids, which also triggers dehydration. 

Mixing drinking and exercise eventually leads to fatigue and exhaustion. This can also trigger a bad hangover after, and the work-out plans for the next day may be canceled.

Drinking alcohol after a work-out may also be causing your body to be stripped off of glycogen. Glycogen is an energy storage in your system that allows you to exert more work at high rates. Reducing this hormone may cause a person to be easily tired and fatigued the next time they try any exercise.

After an intense workout, people tend to tear muscle tissue. Muscle tears will cause soreness all over your body but eventually heal over time. Drinking any alcoholic beverage delays muscle healing because it affects the hormones responsible for it. This will result in an extended recovery period, and can even destroy the muscles you were trying to build.  

Even if one doesn’t exercise but continues to consume excessive alcohol, it will cause immense damage to the body and the organs, causing problems like: 

●     High blood pressure

●     Stroke

●     Cardiomyopathy – irregular stretching and drooping of the heart muscle

●      Arrhythmias – irregular heartbeat

●      Alcoholic hepatitis

●      Steatosis  – fatty liver

●      Cirrhosis

●      Fibrosis

●      Kidney failure

●      Cancer

Does exercise reduce the effects of alcohol? 

Although there is no direct link to exercise reducing the effects of alcohol yet, fitness is proven to be good for people who suffer from alcoholism.

Research shows that physically active people can lessen their drinking habits. Rigorous exercising gives the body good cardio and healthy blood circulation, which stimulates good feelings. 

The release of natural dopamine that the body receives when doing any physical activity can reduce the temptation to turn to substances that trigger the unnatural release of dopamine. Replacing any substance or drug with physical endeavors that lead to fitness, is a very healthy way to start a good lifestyle.

Working out is found to be a very effective stress reliever and can give people a sense of achievement. Instead of craving for the temporary effects of alcohol, exercise is an effective way to maintain good body functions and overall health. 

Struggling With Alcohol? There’s a Better Way

Alcohol is very addictive and very hard to let go of, but it’s not impossible. If you or a loved one is really set on treating their alcohol problem, it’s best to reach out to a support group that can treat your problem.

Here at Buena Vista Health and Recovery Center, we offer programs for alcohol detox, substance abuse detox, rehabilitation programs, sober living support, and treatment programs that can help in making your struggles a thing of the past.

With the right mindset and people, living a healthier and more fulfilling life is possible. Our professionals are committed to helping you help yourself and make your sober life a stepping stone to success.
To learn more about our specialized programs and services, you can check out our website at