Alcohol is a predictable staple during the festive season. If you’ve been celebrating (a socially-distanced) New Years Eve, we won’t hold it against you for enjoying your fair share of drinks. After all, new normal or not, it’s hard to argue against ushering in 2021 on the wagon. But as we begin to settle into January, it is a pretty good idea to start realigning our goals on self-improvement.
And if fitness is your priority this year, here are a couple of reasons why it’s time to stash your wine glasses away!
1. Alcohol can cause dehydration
As a diuretic (substance which promotes increased urine production), alcohol can sap your body’s moisture levels dry. And if there’s one thing you need most when you’re working out, it’s proper hydration. Keeping your body properly hydrated ensures that you have an adequate flow of blood in your system to deliver nutrients to your muscles. It also keeps your temperature regulated via sweating.
But if you’re working out after a late night of cocktails, you will begin to notice your heart-rate rising more rapidly. This is alongside increased perspiration and even dizziness, all of which can lead to dehydration.
2. Alcohol puts additional strain on your metabolism
When you consume alcohol, your liver is tasked to process it before purging any byproducts from your system. But due to the fact that alcohol requires more exertion from your metabolism to process, it tends to put stress on your liver, stomach, and intestines. That additional stress can result in a slower metabolism, decreasing the rate at which your body absorbs other healthy nutrients.
3. Alcohol reduces your energy levels
Speaking of your liver, did you know that your liver produces glucose? Glucose is converted by your body into energy, which is essential for a proper workout. But when your liver is under strain from metabolising alcohol, it will not be able to produce optimal amounts of glucose. Inevitably, that would leave you feeling tired and lethargic more quickly.
4. Alcohol increases your risk of suffering from muscle cramps
When your body converts glucose into energy, it creates a byproduct called lactic acid. Now in normal circumstances, your liver is also responsible for metabolising and purging lactic acid from your system. But when it’s too busy trying to get rid of alcohol, this can cause a build up of lactic acid in your body.
Excessive amounts of lactic acid buildup can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue. And when you’re working out, those are some of the biggest issues you want to try to avoid!
5. Alcoholic beverages have a high calorific content
Did you know that a single gram of alcohol contains as many as seven calories? For the sake of comparison, a single gram of fat contains nine calories. So if you’re doing the math, indulging in a few too many drinks is sure to leave you with some extra weight. It also explains why people who enjoy beer often suffer from an appropriately named ‘beer gut’.
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