Negative effects of alcohol on the body
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 00:10
Well, it seems as if the hectic homecoming weekend has finally come to an end, and the only thing we have left as a reminder is our bloated, beer-bellied stomachs. College students love to drink alcohol, and yes, it is a very fun pastime, however many are ignorant to the various health factors over-drinking could create. From a fitness viewpoint, the over consumption of alcohol reduces athletic performance, muscle growth, heart health and causes serious weight gain. Let’s take a few steps back and break this down.
According to Sports Doctor, alcohol hinders balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction time—all skills necessary in perfecting athletic excellence. Ever wake up the morning after a night of heavy drinking and think you can even move? When that hangover takes over, all fitness activities are virtually thrown out the window.
Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic. For those of you who aren’t biology majors, that means that the liquor in your blood stream decreases your body’s production of Anti-Diuretic Hormone, or ADH, which in turn increases urine flow, depleting many vital vitamins, fluids and electrolytes your body needs. This explains why you may crave water that dreadful morning after. Alcohol leaves your body dehydrated and in need of replenishment. It also increases the production of lactic acid, which will additionally worsen fatigue during exercise.
Alcohol further impairs protein synthesis, interfering with your body’s ability to grow and maintain muscles. Also, according to Brock Press, binge drinking decreases testosterone levels while simultaneously increasing cortisol, a hormone known to deplete muscle growth. So for all those hitting the weight room slightly before or after any drinking festivities commence, you might as well give up. Instead, aim to go to the gym midday to avoid these detrimental consequences.
When it comes to heart health, I’m not necessarily saying all forms of drinking are harmful. In fact, that is quite the opposite of reality. In 1992, Harvard researches “included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk,” according to Yale-New Haven Hospital. Further research even proved that red wine specifically benefits overall heart health.
But what about binge drinking? What about to those younger folks, such as college students, who are still developing and drinking copious amounts each week? Little is known about the link between excessive alcohol consumption and heart disease, but there are inklings of a higher risk of arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), cardiomyopathy (muscle heart is weakened and can’t pump as efficiently) and even sudden cardiac death, among many other health risks!
Lastly is the most obvious: weight gain. Yes, we have all heard of a beer belly, a widespread epidemic effecting high school students, college students and grown-ups alike. But it’s not just beer that causes this increase in weight; it’s any alcoholic (and sugary non-alcoholic at that) beverages. To avoid that nasty belly, the Mayo Clinic suggests drinking only two or fewer beverages a day, and, of course, monitoring your caloric intake.
And remember, while drinking healthfully, also drink responsibly!