Exercise after a night of drinking hurts your performance


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When the St. Patrick's Day party heats up and the booze is flowing, you may wind up having “one too many.” There’s more than just a hangover at stake the day after, especially if you’re training for a special goal — like a marathon — or trying to stay on track toward reaching your ideal weight.

According to research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, people who drink — whether it’s heavily or moderately — are all generally more active than nondrinkers. If you plan on running off those 10 beers you pounded down the night before with your softball team, keep in mind that your body will not function at its normal performance level. Here are a few key performance-zapping effects of exercising after a night of boozing:



It’s common knowledge that alcohol is a diuretic. If you don’t replace your fluids and work up a sweat, you are putting yourself at risk for dehydration. Alcohol also depletes your body of the minerals and vitamins that are essential for your health. Without those key nutrients — thiamin, vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc — you slow down your body’s healing time. Not good if you suffered an injury prior to drinking time.


Slows reaction time

Don’t expect your performance to be at its peak level the day after drinking. Your hand-eye coordination and balance will be off, and this can lead to injury (and embarrassment if you’re playing a team sport!).


Decrease in strength and power

Hitting the bottle can have a damaging effect on your grip strength, jump height and 200- and 400-meter run performance, and can result in faster fatigue during high-intensity exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine reported.


Energy zapper

When you drink, your body converts alcohol into fatty acids. This leads to a drop in adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, your muscle’s energy source. Bummer.

Staying from alcohol the night before exercise or sporting event is the best way to prevent injury and damage to your body. The ACSM recommends skipping anything beyond “low amount social drinking” for 48 hours prior to the event.

Need some more reasons to steer clear of the hooch the night before you exercise? Read “Drinking myths debunked.”