Reward A Hard Work Out With Alcohol?

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On the weekends, people hit the gym hard, working out more on those days than during the week. It’s also when they drink more. A new study finds people drink more alcohol on days when they work out.

Researchers asked 150 people, between ages 18 to 89, to record their physical activity and alcohol use in a Smartphone app each day for a 21-day period. They did this three times, providing data from a total of 63 days. The researchers learned people drank more alcohol on days they exercised more.

David Conroy, professor of preventive medicine and deputy director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an author of the study published in “Health Psychology”, said he was surprised.

“I was surprised that there was no different between more and less active people.”

A 2009 survey found people who drink alcohol are more physically active. The new study focused on the other way around — we drink more when we exercise. Conroy speculates that people might be rewarding themselves for a good workout, or they might have depleted their willpower and they’re less able to say “no” to a drink.

Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert in Charleston, South Carolina, who was not involved in the study said it should probably not be linked.

 “It is interesting … we tend to exercise more Thursday through Sunday and we tend to drink more Thursday through Sunday. Just be careful not to conclude that one leads to another.”

Also, we’re weekend warriors when it comes to exercising and drinking, according to Conroy.

“The social weekend is alive and well. We’ve seen in college students that drinking goes up, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Whether you are a young adult, a midlife adult, or an older adult, these effects hold up.”


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