'Do not drink and drive' - a common line with a universal understanding and fairly warned so according to the devastating effects intoxication is known to have on driving. But what about drinking and running? What effects could there be physiologically when one drinks and runs?
With more and more booze-based runs emerging in the scene, it is important for us to share what could be in for you.
Firstly, alcohol dehydrates you because it is a diuretic. This means that it aids in the expulsion of water and sodium through urination. While this may be a helpful function for people with high blood pressure or swollen tissues, ridding your body of sodium and hydration before a run is definitely disadvantageous.
Muscles are more likely to cramp up with reduced levels of electrolytes, and along with the decreased efficiency of your muscles, chances of pulls and strains are elevated. If you do want to keep electrolytes and hydration levels up between runs, a sports drink is a great alternative.
Secondly, the same interference one experiences while drinking and driving influences running as well. This includes slower reaction time, lowered physical coordination skills, increase in heart rate and issues with balancing. Such influences can affect a runner’s safety and/or accelerate fatigue.
Thirdly, metabolism of fats or carbohydrates is impeded. This happens because your liver focuses on breaking down alcohol therefore other functions such as breaking down glycogen slows down. With unregulated levels of glucose in your blood stream, the steady supply of energy from glucose can run low, making it tougher to continue running.
Drinking and running is as counterintuitive as it sounds, but it is always healthier to exercise than to drink without exercising at all. Still, based on all the immediate negative effects drinking has on running, it is inadvisable to drink before you run. But if you absolutely have to for a social event or fun run, remember to hydrate yourself adequately and drink with consumption of food!