If you have ever been compelled to have a cold one of a few after one of those really intense workouts (something to which I am completely and utterly unaccustomed—the exercise, that is), know that you're not alone.
A new study by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has found that people have the tendency to drink more on days they've completed some form of exercise—usually Thursdays to Sundays. (No, keg stands don't count as exercise, though beer is the drink of choice.) The study uses data from 150 people between the ages of 18 and 89 who used a smartphone app to record their physical activity and alcohol consumption.
While previous studies found that physically active people tend to drink more in general, this study did not come to that conclusion, instead finding that the days of the week played a bigger role. According to lead researcher David E. Conroy:
"We zoomed in the microscope and got a very up-close and personal look at these behaviors on a day-to-day basis and see it's not people who exercise more drink more — it's that on days when people are more active they tend to drink more than on days they are less active," Conroy said. "This finding was uniform across study participants of all levels of physical activity and ages."
I guess it makes sense that if we're going to get out of the house to go work out, may as well go all out. Conroy intends to get to the bottom of what exactly drives people to drink:
"Perhaps people reward themselves for working out by having more to drink or maybe being physically active leads them to encountering more social situations where alcohol is consumed — we don't know," Conroy said. "Once we understand the connection between the two variables we can design novel interventions that promote physical activity while curbing alcohol use."
Personally, I don't know what the fuss is all about. I don't really do the exercise thing (I have an allergy to treadmills, okay?) and can binge drink perfectly fine, thank you.
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