While we know that alcohol isn’t exactly a health food, we’re not exactly ready to give it up yet either. Many of us are willing to sacrifice the dream of rock-hard abs for a glass (or three) of red wine after dinner, happy hour margs, and gameday beer. If it comes at the cost of going up a belt notch or two, so be it – it’s worth it to me to sacrifice a 30″ waist to be able to unwind with a bottle of red wine after a rough day at work.
But what if you could have the best of both worlds – all the alcohol your heart desires and a trim waistline? While it sounds too good to be true, a recent study shows that it might actually be attainable – provided you hit the gym every once in a while. University of Sydney professor Emmanuel Stamatakis recently published research findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that I think we’ll all be interested in, because his study centered around alcohol consumption.
After a 10-year study following drinkers to study their health and mortality rates, what Stamatakis found was that while drinking was associated with higher risk of death, if the study participants participated in 150 minutes of exercise a week, that risk was substantially lower. Stamatakis says, “Among the physically active, there was no increase in cancer and all-cause mortality up to hazardous levels of alcohol consumption,” which is excellent for all of us that exceed the one recommended 5-ounce glass of red wine a night. On top of this, as long as you exercised the 150 minutes a week, you’re good – exercising any more than that didn’t cause any additional positive benefits, so feel free to stop as soon as you hit your 2.5 hours for the week.
While Stamatakis recommends following CDC guidelines for alcohol consumption for its other various health effects, it’s still good to know that by hitting the gym a couple of times a week, you can ward off any risk of early death from your weekend binge drinking. It’s time to put that ClassPass you bought on Groupon to use – if erasing negative benefits of drinking isn’t motivation to get you to the gym, I don’t know what is. .