Monday, August 31, 2009

A Drinking Club with a Running Problem

Being reformed cross-country runners, we recall the heady days of 5K and 10k races. We also recall the evening before when runners gorge on pasta and complex carbohydrates to make sure there was enough energy for the next day's race.

The Boston Hash House Harriers running club takes a slightly different approach. This group runs together every Wednesday in the warmer months and takes periodic breaks during the run to have a beer. Sometimes they take a break from drinking beer to have a run.

The Harriers are one example of research conducted at the University of Miami, which "suggests alcohol consumption may be linked with at least one healthy behavior; specifically, researchers found that those who reported drinking more alcohol were also more likely to report exercising regularly."

According to an ABC News report, Michael French, Professor at the University, had these stunning results:

  • Women who reported drinking more than 45 drinks in the past month -- a behavior that pushed them into the category of "heavy drinkers" -- exercised 14 more minutes per week on average than those light drinkers who drank one to 14 drinks in the month. These women also reported exercising on average 20 minutes more than those who abstained from alcohol altogether.
  • [F]or men, with heavy drinkers -- those who threw back 75 drinks per month -- exercising 21 minutes more per week than light drinkers who only consumed one to 29 drinks per month and 23 minutes more than abstainers.
The reasons are hard to pinpoint. According to the report the connection may be that both drinking and exercise tend to be social activities (work hard, play hard). People who enjoy both may enjoy the endorphin buzz as much as the beer buzz. Whatever. The point is you can now justify joining that bar league softball team.

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