Effects of Alcohol on Sports Performance

Picture1Anyone who has an interest in playing sports or keeping fit should understand the effects alcohol can have on their performance. Not having a balanced approach to alcohol could be what gets in the way of you reaping the rewards from all the work you’ve put in.

The two main ways alcohol affects the body during exercise are in dehydration and energy;

Dehydration leads to reduced performance.  Because alcohol is a diuretic, which

means it makes your kidneys produce more urine, drinking too much of it can lead to dehydration. Exercising soon after drinking alcohol can make dehydration worse because you sweat as your body temperature rises. Combined, sweating and the diuretic effect of exercise make dehydration along with your body overheating much more likely. You need to be hydrated when you exercise to maintain the flow of blood through your body, which is essential for circulating oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.

Alcohol interferes with the way your body produces energy – When you’re metabolising or breaking down alcohol the liver can’t produce as much glucose, which means you have low levels of blood sugar. Exercise requires high levels of sugar (carbohydrates) to give you energy. If your liver isn’t producing enough glucose you will be slower, have less energy and won’t be able to exercise as intensely along with the added risk of adversely affecting your concentration, coordination, reaction, dexterity etc.

Both of these effects happen immediately which is why it is not advised to exercise or compete in sport soon after drinking alcohol.

Alcoholism/Alcohol abuse causes

  • Nerve disorders
  • Muscle cramps
  • Speeds up ageing
  • Osteoporosis
  • Appetite loss
  • Depression

 Binge drinking can lead to;

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Increases risk of blood clots
  • Increases risk of stroke

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