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To drink or not to drink: are sports and bad habits compatible?

In the minds of many ordinary people, being an athlete means not drinking, not smoking, adhering to a diet, sleep, training plan, because without strict restrictions one cannot achieve high results. But more and more famous beer brands become sponsors of races and marathons. Those who support a healthy lifestyle are loudly outraged that this breaks all templates, and above all spoils the health of athletes and makes them alcoholics. But maybe it's not that bad?

What's wrong with alcohol and how does it affect our body?

When you ingest alcoholic beverages 20% of what is drunk into the body is absorbed by the stomach, and 80% is sent to the small intestine. If you drink on a full stomach, the food inside will absorb alcohol and you will not get drunk so quickly. As it enters the bloodstream, the alcohol is filtered by the liver, which is the main organ that comes under attack.

In textbooks on biochemistry, you can find an approximate formula for calculating how much alcohol the liver can process:
Let's say a man weighing 80 kg after training drank 0.5 beer with a strength of 5%:
Calculate the content of pure alcohol in this beer: 500 ml * 0.05 = 25 ml
The concentration in the blood is given in grams, so we multiply the amount of ml by the density of alcohol (0.79 g / ml): 25 ml * 0.79 g / ml = 20g
Depending on whether a person drinks on an empty stomach or on a full one, 10% or 30% of alcohol, respectively, is lost. Most likely, the stomach will not be full after training, so subtract 10% from 20 g of pure alcohol: 20g - (20g / 100 * 10) = 18g
On average, a person consists of 70% liquid - we find its mass: 80 kg * 0.7 = 56 kg
We obtain the concentration of alcohol in ppm: 18g / 56000 g * 1000 ‰ = 0.32 ppm.

The maximum concentration of alcohol in the blood occurs in 60-90 minutes. The probability of death is from 3.5 ppm, which is approximately equal to 660 ml of 40% vodka, or 2.1 liters of 12% wine, or 5 liters of 5% beer, drunk in a short period of time without a snack. The theoretical maximum ethanol norm for a healthy person with a daily intake is 60 g for men and 50 g for women (due to sex differences in metabolism). Excessive alcohol consumption causes liver disease - fatty degeneration. Most often this is a reversible process, you just need to reduce alcohol consumption to a minimum or even give it up altogether. If you run the problem, then the next stage will be liver cirrhosis, which is no longer treated.

Researchers at the Tyumen Medical Institute have found that performance significantly decreases three hours after drinking alcohol, but even after removing alcohol from the body, activity remains reduced within 45 hours.

Each person has a certain limit dose, which depends on gender, age, weight, physical condition. When we go through stages of drunkennessenia, from mild euphoria to clouding of consciousness, the liver is actively processing alcohol. The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase oxidizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is poisonous and causes the greatest damage to the body. Aldehyde is toxic and has its own maximum permissible concentration, when exceeded, severe intoxication begins, up to and including death. If the liver cannot cope with the production of the enzyme, the body begins to naturally reduce intoxication (the person is sick). By the way, the smell of fumes that appears after 5-7 hours is exactly the smell of the resulting acetaldehyde. Further, the aldehyde is oxidized by the enzyme aledehyde dehydrogenase and converted into acid, and then into salts. They are metabolized by muscles and heart and excreted in urine and sweat, - Daniil Achiadorma , employee of the laboratory of carbohydrate chemistry № 21 of the Institute of Organic Chemistry. N. D. Zelinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences, specialization: the chemistry of natural compounds.

A tangled tongue, confusion of thoughts, lack of coordination, and sometimes loss of memory the next morning - all this is all just after one cheerful evening. If drunk regularly, alcohol will negatively affect not only the liver, but also the functioning of the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, endocrine glands, muscles, skin, immune system and brain.

From alcohol get fat

Moreover, it is not a myth that you can get fat from alcohol: 1 g of ethyl alcohol is equal to 7 calories. It seems that runners are not in danger of being overweight, because on average 100 calories are burned per kilometer. But recovering with alcohol is not the best idea: despite the calorie content, the content of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is negligible, so the body will not get the proper saturation, as from food and other drinks.

Besides, drinking beer, for example, is negative affects the figure, especially the male. It contains phytoestrogen - a female sex hormone of plant origin. If you drink too much beer, phytoestrogen will quantitatively exceed the content of the male sex hormone testosterone, which emphasizes masculinity, makes men broad-shouldered and strong, and is in itself a powerful fat burner. Especially noticeable is the effect of beer on men after 40 years, when testosterone is not produced so actively, and weight is gained quickly, including the female type (on the waist and chest).

What is the use?

  • To maintain the vital functions of the body, a person must receive enough vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It is not always possible to find the proper amount of nutrients in food, moreover, they may not be fully absorbed. For example, silicon, which is responsible for the strength of bones, fights the appearance of wrinkles and lowers blood pressure, the body needs in an amount of 25-45 mg daily, but no more than 4% of silicon is absorbed from the products. Researchers from the University of California (USA) have proven that beer is one of the most affordable natural sources of silicon. Three boutAles of any beer can meet the daily requirement, but ales contain the most silicon. In addition to silicon, beer is rich in other trace elements - zinc, iron, copper, selenium, chromium, magnesium, and B vitamins - thiamine, biotin, folic acid, riboflavin and others.
  • But there are benefits in other alcoholic beverages (if they are not overused). Antioxidants in wine lower bad cholesterol and at the same time increase good cholesterol, fight cancer cells, the possibility of diabetes and depression. 30 ml of cognac or brandy has the same antioxidant effect as a daily dose of vitamin C. Tequila helps lower blood sugar levels. Although some types of alcohol are full of a variety of antioxidants and micronutrients, doctors insist that common foods can also be beneficial without damaging the body.
  • Research by specialists from the University of Ghent (Belgium) has shown that bitter beer has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, comparable to analgin or ibuprofen. The bitterness of beer depends on the amount of bitter hop acids (isogumulone) added during the brewing and is measured in international bitterness units (IBU). And it is easy to believe in the medicinal properties of hops, because it is used in medicine to treat angina pectoris, intestinal spasms, kidney stones, cardiovascular neuroses, dermatitis.
  • A group of British scientists have found that people who drink 3-6 glasses of beer or wine every week are 11% less likely to contract the Helicobacter pylori bacteria than those who do not drink at all. This bacterium is dangerous because it infects areas of the stomach and duodenum, many cases of ulcers, gastritis, duodenitis and even stomach cancer are associated with Helicobacter pylori.
  • Nephrologists at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Italy) have studied the effect of various drinks on the appearance of kidney stones. According to them, regular consumption of wine reduces the risk of urolithiasis by 31-33%, and if you drink beer, then by 41%!
  • They also tried to confirm the benefits of alcohol with statistics. For 40 years, Dutch doctors have been observing the life of a small town, whose inhabitants were both absolute teetotalers, and those who like to drink without restrictions, and a group of subjects who took no more than 20 g of pure alcohol in any concentration per day. According to the results of the study, mortality in the group of moderate drinkers is 36% lower than in the group that did not drink at all. Wine drinkers lived on average 3.8 years longer than others.
  • And, of course, a small amount of alcohol helps to establish social connections, make friends, join a group / club of interests.

Can athletes drink?

Research shows that many alcoholic beverageshave a diuretic effect, that is, when urinating, the body loses more water than usual. But Dr. James Betts from the University of Bath (UK) argues that low-alcohol drinks, like beer 3.5%, have a mild diuretic effect, so a moderate amount of beer after training will not be harmful. Some runners swear that a small dose of alcohol on the eve of a race helps them run easier.

Several years ago, Professor Manuel Garzon from the University of Granada conducted an experiment. The subjects did physical exercises, and to restore water balance after sports, he gave half of the group water, and the others the same amount of beer. Result: the beer worked a little more effectively than water.

To drink or not to drink: are sports and bad habits compatible?


On the one hand. The American College of Sports Medicine has shown research that alcohol reduces the performance of athletes, and can also disrupt the body's thermoregulation.
Professor David Cameron-Smith of the University of Auckland (New Zealand) also opposes use alcohol before exercise. The body has to adapt to the workout longer than if the lesson was held with a clear head. First, the load on the heart increases. Secondly, the body becomes more susceptible to injury, healing slows down: alcohol dilates blood vessels, which does not reduce, but, on the contrary, increases edema. Third, partying before the start will negatively affect sleep, which will lower glycogen levels, which is the most important source of energy for endurance. In addition, those who rest with an alcoholic beverage replenish glycogen twice as slowly as non-drinking athletes.

In theory, alcohol can be used as doping. But he will not give strength, on the contrary, it will reduce the reaction, worsen coordination and relax. For the sake of the latter, some athletes drink before a responsible race so that alcohol acts as a sedative. But this is how alcohol damages the central nervous system and disrupts the functioning of organs.

As a coach, I have a negative attitude towards alcohol. Undoubtedly, the same beer contains some useful elements, but they can also be found in regular products - so the benefits clearly do not outweigh. Alcoholic beverages complicate muscle recovery, which takes up time that could otherwise be spent on improving performance, and alcohol is also a diuretic, which means that if you do not replenish enough fluid (which is often required after exercise), your body's water balance will be disturbed, the risk of dehydration will increase. It's not worth training actively with a hangover - the cardiovascular system already has a big load. If you suddenly really want to do itmouth, you can just walk in the park, in nature, or go, for example, to yoga (in easy mode) - in general, do those activities in which the pressure and heart rate will not increase. Remember that in sports medicine, there is basically no acceptable dose of alcohol. Therefore, when preparing for the race, I would recommend minimizing its use , - said Mikhail Kapitonov, trainer of Nike Run Club, CCM in 400 meters.

On the other hand. In 2014, Runner's World magazine conducted a survey among its readers about whether it is possible to reward yourself with a beer at the finish line and whether this does not contradict the concept of a healthy lifestyle. Out of almost 2,000 people who voted, 85% were in favor of beer - this is a good indication of the runners' attitude towards combining alcohol and sports.

To drink or not to drink: are sports and bad habits compatible?

Photo: istockphoto. com

Research from Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan has shown that drinking alcohol in small doses after heavy exercise can reduce muscle spasms. Medical analyzes did not record significant changes if the athletes did not drink, however, according to the subjects themselves, 5 ml per kg of body weight of an alcoholic drink - beer with an alcohol content of 4.5% - helped them overcome the painful sensations of the recovery period.

Unlike Russia, there is a different culture of drinking alcohol abroad, therefore it is considered the norm to receive and drink alcoholic beer at the finish line. In our country, it is often perceived with hostility, they say, how an athlete can drink in general. In my personal observation, 70% of distance runners drink, and I am one of them. For a long time I studied the issue of combining sports and alcoholic habits, because when I started running marathons, I wondered how adult men can drink and achieve good results. I was looking for information to either slow myself down, or find some excuse for the desire to drink. For example, I learned that the gene responsible for high achievement in sports is also responsible for alcoholism. Perhaps that is why some athletes with incredible athletic success become alcoholics.

When I started running marathons and drinking, I certainly noticed that alcohol at least relieves stress. But you need to find your own line, after crossing which alcohol will be harmful. For myself, I determined that, for example, at a training camp I can drink 3 bottles of beer per evening, if I run 30 km per day. And if I ignore such a desire to relax, then the next day I feel nervous tension, thoughts wander anxiously in my head and I cannot completely surrender to the training process. During the active period of preparation, I deliberately leave the city in order to focus on running, to deprive myself of all temptations. I even interrupt my coaching activity, and alcohol unloads me during such periods. But when I'm not preparing for any competitionor I have an injury, then I live the life of an ordinary person and can afford to go to a bar or club.

When I started winning marathons back in 2010, everyone knew that I drank a lot and wondered how I could run fast with this addiction. I understood that I was not the only one, it was just my habits that were on public display and were actively discussed. As long as I communicate with people, most athletes in all sports, except athletics, fundamentally do not drink alcohol. But every second athlete-athlete I know really loves to drink, and even no such talk is harmful / not harmful, it is taken for granted.

But the opposite happens. I know my norm: for example, today after 35 km I will drink 4 bottles of beer, a day after the same long one - a bottle of wine, so I don’t come across a hangover and feeling unwell. And in principle, runners find it easier to tolerate alcohol, because they have a faster metabolism. But I would not drink before a race or come to training after a stormy night and would not recommend it to anyone. It is much more pleasant to drink after the start than before it, go over with alcohol and fail at the competition , - said Misha Bykov, master of sports in athletics, two-time winner of the White Nights marathon, founder and head coach running schools A typical marathon runner.

Instead of a conclusion

Probably, how many people, so many opinions about alcohol in sports. Even beer at the finish line has both supporters and ardent opponents. But if you look for a compromise, then you need to answer to yourself: what is the norm? When is it time to stop so as not to harm your body and your athletic performance?

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