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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Health & Fitness

Don’t let drinking undermine fitness goals

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With the observance of Alcohol Awareness Month throughout April, the American Council on Exercise advises individuals to take a serious look at their alcohol consumption and consider the toll it can take on health. Here are five ways excessive drinking can sabotage your fitness goals.

Alcohol eats away at muscle mass. Consuming alcohol reduces blood flow to the muscles, causing weakness and deterioration. In large quantities, it has a direct effect on your metabolism, causing fat to be stored instead of being utilized as an energy source.

Alcohol diminishes physical performance. Alcohol is a depressant that suppresses the brain’s ability to function. It can dramatically decrease your reaction time, accuracy, balance, hand-eye coordination and endurance. Alcohol also is a diuretic that can cause dehydration, which is known to decrease physical performance.

Alcohol impacts sleep. It can disrupt the sequence and duration of sleep states and alter sleep time and the time required to fall asleep. This results in increased fatigue and physical stress to the body. Alcohol consumption indirectly affects a person’s strength-training ability due to increased fatigue and a lack of healthy reparative sleep.

Alcohol interferes with nutrition uptake. It inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable substances by decreasing the secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Regular consumption also impairs nutrient absorption by damaging the cells lining the stomach and intestines and disabling transport of some nutrients into the blood. It may impair physical performance and recovery required to build and maintain muscle mass.

Alcohol packs on the pounds. Calories from alcohol add up fast, at approximately 150 calories for a 12-ounce beer or 125 calories per 5-ounce glass of wine. Meanwhile, distilled spirits will add some 100 calories for each 1.5-ounce serving, not including what you mix with them. Factor in the “drunk munchies” and that can mean several hundred extra calories consumed.

If you want to increase muscle mass, decrease fat or improve your general health, ACE recommends moderation when it comes to alcohol consumption. To learn more about healthy living, visit www.ACEFit.com.  


Source: American Council on Exercise

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