Drinking beer, often associated with large bellies and rough mornings, has now been linked to increase exercise in a study head lead by Dr. Michael French, a professor of health economics at the University of Miami.
The goal of the study was to determine if alcohol consumption was directly related to the number of minutes of physical activity in which individuals partake during a typical week.
“I expected the results to be an inverted U, meaning light and moderate drinkers would exercise more and heavy drinkers would exercise less,” French said. “Instead, there was a linear relationship. The more people drank, the more they worked out.”
French conducted this study to further explore previous literature published in the Journal of Health Economics.
This prior research verified that one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and is considered health enhancing.
Published in the September-October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, French’s study found this drinking-exercising connection by analyzing the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a annual phone survey of 230,000 Americans.
“This is one of the first, if not the very first time that heavy drinking has been linked to a positive message,” he said.
French said that he does not want this study to be misconstrued. While this report has positively correlated heavy drinking with vigorous physical activity, he also warns of the dangers of binge drinking.
“Heavy drinking is linked to many negative outcomes, including DUI and multiple health and social problems,” French said.
Junior Tara Cochran, an avid gym visitor, was surprised to hear the results of this study.
“I work out all the time and don’t drink very often, but when I do drink I tend to either skip the gym the next day or not get such a quality workout as I’m used to,” she said.
However, junior Jessica Weiss’s actions are more consistent with this study.
“I definitely feel more obligated to go to the gym after a night of drinking beer,” she said. “I’ve got to burn off those extra calories!”
French urges everyone to keep in mind that this isn’t a cause and effect relationship.
“Definitely don’t drink more in hopes that you will start working out more,” French said.