Alcohol and fitness — I know what you’re probably thinking. Can they co-exist together in peaceful and loving harmony? Because what if you love both and want to enjoy the benefits they both (can) provide for you? Time and again many studies conclude that alcohol provides a lot of health benefits for us. And we all know that having an active lifestyle keeps us in a good mental and physical state of health. So what if you want to enjoy both alcohol and fitness, and still lead a healthy life? Here are some tips for living a healthy life with two enjoyable things a lot of millennials love.
Types of Alcohol and Their Benefits
Now just hold your horses. Just because drinking alcohol has been proven to have some benefits, that does not mean you should splurge on any ole kind of drink. When it comes to healthy alcoholic beverages, wine, and some beers usually top the list.
Beer, for instance, is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium among other good ingredients. It is also usually low in sugar and fat. And it gets even better with darker beers. Dark beer ranks a bit higher than light beers when it comes to having more iron and fiber components, but they do contribute to what we know as beer bellies. So choose wisely. Overall, beers, in general, are not so bad for your health and are a decent type of alcohol to indulge in. The only downside is that they are pretty high calories.
And then we have wine. Wine is perhaps the most lauded and praised form of alcohol that studies always circle back to. Red wine specifically has been shown to be a very healthy type of alcohol and can be sipped every day in moderation. Studies show that it can help lower risks for heart disease, cancer, has anti-aging properties, and can lower your cholesterol.
White wine is pretty cool too even though it does not get enough accolades. It does not have the anti-aging qualities but has other similar traits to red wine and studies have said that it can help with burning fat. And let's not forget about champagne. We usually store this sparkling drink away for congratulatory occasions, but perhaps you should drink it more if you find yourself forgetful at times. A study shows that champagne can help your memory and decrease your chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When it comes to transitioning into fitness we know that what we eat is the number one thing we are often told to look out for. That's because moderation is key to adjusting and maintaining all of your hard work. However, a lot of alcohol tends to increase your appetite, and if you're trying to maintain a moderate eating habit, this is a no-no and will definitely ruin your fitness goals. It may be in your best interest to probably drink on a full stomach, and opt for lower calorie drinks.
Some studies recommend drinking straight liquor, also known as hard liquor, to avoid added calories. These drinks are gin, tonic, whiskey, and scotch. Vodka and whiskey, for instance, have no carbs in them are low in calories. It’s the mixers you have to stay away from. Not only do they increase the caloric intake of the drink, but you also get extra carbs. Drinking hard alcohol is not always pleasant, especially if you’re not that crazy about the “hard” taste. Those sweet and fruity drinks, however, taste so good but are the worst. If you must have one, keep it at that and perhaps it can count to your diet as a regular drink.
You would honestly need to drink a lot of water to make sure this won’t have any effect. Or know what your body can handle without ruining anything. A good rule to go by is: know what you’re going to drink before you head out. If you’re going for drinks with friends, know if you’re going to have a daiquiri and some whiskey, to calculate your caloric intake for that night.
Also, know what alcohol drinks you can handle — that's just as important.
Remember The Dangers
Do not think that all the benefits above mean alcohol is A-OK in everyone’s diets. We all know the harm alcohol can cause on the body, including weight gain. A lot of the benefits cited in studies depend on age, socioeconomic status, and frequency of how much people drink. But they often do not mention the metabolism of the person, weight, and whether they are physically active. And those traits are just as important to know how alcohol affects the body. Sure alcohol has some cool benefits that go with it, but too much drinking will affect not only your diet. You can put your liver, heart, and tissue lining at risk — especially hard liquor drinkers.
Less is better
So can they co-exist? Somewhat, but keep in mind that everyone’s body and willpower is different. Moderation is really the key to enjoying a social life accompanied with drinking and staying true to your fitness goals.
If you want to drink alcohol every day but want to drop 30 pounds, it’s probably not going to work unless you’re working extra hard in the gym, and what’s the point of doing that? Continuing to drink alcohol when you’re on a strict diet will make you work harder just to burn off the extra calories. But if you can do it, go for it. Adding on to that, if you notice that you eat more when drinking, maybe you should keep alcohol far away from your diet. So drink less, and if you must, drink only once. And don’t forget to drink water in between!
It all winds down to how often you work out, what you drink, how often, and your body. Cheers!
Resources: Medicaldaily.com, Healthcentral.com, Eatthis.com.