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Could alcohol consumption be limiting your athletic performance?

 Personal trainer Bizzie Gold of Buti Yoga at OK! Body & Soul 2014 at The Casa Del Mar Hotel on June 14, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
Personal trainer Bizzie Gold of Buti Yoga at OK! Body & Soul 2014 at The Casa Del Mar Hotel on June 14, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
Photo by Chelsea Lauren

According to the American College of Sports Medicine or ACSM, the effect alcohol has on your work out depends on how much you drink.

Drinking a limited amount of alcohol has been shown to help reduce stress and possibly, in the case of red wine, help increase good cholesterol according to Mayo Clinic, but overdoing it has a wide spectrum of possible negative effects.

Alcohol abuse accounts for approximately 10,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. alone according to the ACSM.

“From a physiological perspective, two situations draw special attention for the fitness-oriented individual who consumes alcohol. Acutely, alcohol can cause negative effects on motor skills and physical performance,” stated an ACSM release. “Chronically, alcohol abuse may eventually impede physical performance; individuals diagnosed with alcohol dependence have displayed varying degrees of muscle damage and weakness. Furthermore, alcohol abuse is at least as prevalent in the athletic community as it is in the general population; the vast majority of athletes have begun drinking by the end of high school.”

But only 49 percent of adults are meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC.

About 23 percent of adults are doing muscle strengthening exercises regularly, and 20 percent of adults are doing both together.

These facts show that if you do drink regularly you certainly shouldn’t limit your exercise or sports participation.

As a matter of fact, exercising can help reduce stress and limit the need for the stress relieving properties of alcohol according to a study done by Richard Brown, professor of psychiatry and human behavior published in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment.

Getting the recommended amount of exercise can help you release endorphins and feel better according to Mayo Clinic.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week for at least 10 minutes at a time and do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

Dieters also may want to abstain from alcohol despite its cardiovascular benefits because of the “empty calories.” A gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. Compare that to a gram of carbohydrate or protein which contain 4 calories.

A gram of fat contains 9 calories. Those calories could be better spent on nutritive foods such as fruits and vegetables suggests the ACSM.