Drinking Alcohol More Common on Exercise Days

Drinking Alcohol More Common on Exercise Days

Drinking Alcohol More Common on Exercise Days

Study authors say it's not clear why physical activity and alcohol appear linked

SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, Sept. 22, 2014

TUESDAY, Sept. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People tend to drink more alcohol on days when they're more physically active, a new study finds.

"Monday through Wednesday people batten down the hatches and they cut back on alcohol consumption. But once that 'social weekend' kicks off on Thursdays, physical activity increases and so does alcohol consumption," said study author David Conroy.

Conroy is a professor of preventive medicine and deputy director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

The study included 195 people between the ages of 18 and 89. They recorded their physical activity levels and alcohol consumption on their smartphones every day. They did this for 21 days at a time during three separate periods over one year, according to the study.

The results showed that people tended to be more active and also to drink more Thursday through Sunday. However, the study did not prove a direct link between the two.

Unlike previous research, this study did not find that active people consume more alcohol than inactive people, the researchers said.

People who exercise more don't drink more overall, "it's that on days when people are more active they tend to drink more than on days they are less active. This finding was uniform across study participants of all levels of physical activity and ages," Conroy said in a Northwestern news release.

Further research is needed to learn more about why people drink more on days when they're more physically active, according to the researchers.

"Perhaps people reward themselves for working out by having more to drink or maybe being physically active leads them to encountering more social situations where alcohol is consumed -- we don't know," Conroy said.

"Insufficient physical activity and alcohol use are both linked to many health problems, and excessive alcohol use has many indirect costs as well. We need to figure out how to use physical activity effectively and safely without having the adverse effects of drinking more alcohol," he concluded.

The study was published online Sept. 22 in the journal Health Psychology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcoholism and your health.

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