Drinker with a running problem — looking for good news

Can we train for The Canberra Times fun ran and drink alcohol? Not together, it seems. One website goes a step further – abstain for 48 hours before exercise, it advises.  OK, so how about a celebratory glass after the fun run? Maybe, but not much, seems to be the Google consensus.

Let’s Google for good news. Ahh, finally hope, for drinking runners: a Danish study, cited on a CNN health blog, “didn’t find that alcohol and exercise were interchangeable, but rather they had a compounded, additional effect together”.

Dr Morten Gronbaek, an epidemiolgist at Denmark’s National Institute of Public Health observed 12,000 people over 20 years – and concluded that “Leasure-time physical activity and a moderate alcohol intake are both important to lower the risk of fatal IHD and all-cause mortality”.

They found that those who exercised and drank moderately were 50 per cent less likely to suffer heart disease than non-exercising wowsers. Non-drinking exercisers reduced their risk of heart disease by 30 per cent compared to non-exercising wowsers – a risk reduction rate shared by couch-bound moderate drinkers.

Dr Gronbaek concluded, “physical activity and light to moderate alcohol intake in middle-aged and elderly people are both preventive and independent from one another”.

Perhaps we can continue to drink as we exercise after all. But not much. The study defined moderate drinking as one to 14 drinks a week, with an optimum for protection of one drink a day for women and two for men. Glad I’m a bloke.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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