Although recent statistics reveal that alcohol-related hospital admissions are on the rise in the UK, a very interesting (if not seemingly counter-intuitive) bit of information has been making the rounds today here in the states. An article released by the Health Behavior News Service suggests that drinkers are more likely to be getting regular exercise.
The information stems from a new study appearing in the American Journal of Health Promotion, where lead researcher Michael French, Ph.D shares the following: “Alcohol users not only exercised more than abstainers, but the differential actually increased with more drinking.” French also states that “there is a strong association between all levels of drinking and both moderate and vigorous physical activity.” However, he warns that these results don’t suggest that people “should use alcohol to boost their exercise programs, as the study was not designed to determine whether alcohol intake actually caused an increase in exercise.”
In all likelihood, the somewhat odd link between these two activities is probably mental, having more to do with self-images regular drinkers may have of themselves, rather than physical causes. Chicago Tribune health writer Julie Deardorff commented on French’s study, saying “Some drinkers may use exercise to negate the calories from the alcohol. Others might have a thrill-seeking nature; those gunning for a runner’s high may use alcohol for a similar sensation.”
Regardless, if there is a healthy link, the beneficial results may outweigh the negative side, according to French. “If responsible drinkers are using exercise to partially counteract the caloric intake from alcohol, that is not such a bad thing.”