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Drinkers Are More Active Than Non-Drinkers?

I always thought that eating right, exercising regularly, and limiting your alcohol intake went hand-in-hand. That's not so, according to data gathered from a government health survey. Researchers found that people who drink regularly seem to exercise more often than non-drinkers, and the more they drink, the more active they are.

According to the research, women who drank at least 46 drinks in the past month (one or two drinks per day) were considered heavy drinkers, and they exercised at least 20 minutes more a week than light or non-drinkers. Women who drank 15 to 45 drinks a month were considered moderate drinkers, and they exercised an extra 10 minutes a week as compared to alcohol abstainers. Those who enjoyed a drink or two a day were also more likely to take part in vigorous exercise like running.

Why the connection? To find out,


One reason drinkers may be more active is that they want to prevent weight gain from sipping all those liquid calories. Drinking certain beverages such as wine has also been linked to health benefits, so it makes sense that health-conscious women would exercise and feel good about enjoying a drink every so often. Drinkers may also be the type to be more adventurous or social and take part in team sports and outdoor activities like skiing or rock climbing. After sweating it out with friends outside, it's common to follow with a trip to the bar.

Tell me, does your healthy lifestyle include both exercising and drinking?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 7 years
This is BULL - I don't drink and I work out every day for 2 hours!!!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I enjoy my one alcoholic beverage a night and I am very active. I wouldn't consider 1 drink per day heavy drinking, either. I'm guessing that anyone that's got a serious alcohol problem (like, 2+ drinks per day) isn't going to feel like exercising a lot. I think moderation is theory is that I work hard at the gym, I'm entitled to my one calorie-containing beverage of the day and it helps to relax me and it's one nice little luxury in life.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
Unless it's a very large glass, I don't see how one glass of wine equals heavy drinking. Shouldn't people actually know how much a person is actually drinking before making that odd assumption? Anyway though, when it comes to myself, I barely ever drink wine and that's pretty much the only alcohol I ever have, and that's wouldn't be half a bottle of it in a glass.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 7 years
@irisheyes1212 lol, I guess my glasses are smaller - because I often have these arguments with people and can get more than 4+ glasses out of a bottle. Anyway I suppose I should clarify that drinking IN EXCESS of 1/2 a bottle of wine a night (every night, without fail) would probably be deemed as excessive. HOWEVER, I don't frown upon it - certainly not if you look at countries like Italy or other cultures where having a glass of wine with lunch, and dinner etc etc is totally normal. That probably adds up to more than 1/2 a bottle a day, no? Hell, my parents share a good part of a bottle of red wine every single night after work, and are the most functioning & healthy people I know. I suppose my point is that 'heavy drinking' in this survey is only thus because they're comparing it to people who are complete teetotalers.
Zulkey Zulkey 7 years
studies aside, this is me. I like my drink and I take my exercise.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 7 years
1-2 drinks a day is a heavy drinker? One drink per day is good for you, and who doesn't occasionally have a second glass?
HaterTot HaterTot 7 years
@tamara the study isn't limited to wine, it's all alcoholic drinks.
tamaradulva tamaradulva 7 years
@ TidalWave, you just beat me to it.
tamaradulva tamaradulva 7 years
What I am surprised not to see in the comments is anyone crying foul on this study. There are socio-economical slant here. Red wine is expense, and those who can afford to drink a glass or two a day are more likely able to afford a gym membership, take dance lessons regularly and have exercise equipment at home. Free activities and better parks are more accessible to high-income people. A government study showed that 30% of low-income people say that they participate in some form of physical activity whereas 45% of high-income people would say the same. Also, 24% of low-income people see they are not active at all compared to 13% of high-income people. If the study used a more accessible alcoholic drink, say beer, that bust socio-economic borders, I bet you would get different results. Government study link:
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
i dont think there is a connection. And definitely not from feeling guilty of the liquid calories. I might say that there's a social aspect here. People who drink could be assumed to be more social and thus would be more likely to go to a gym than those who are less social.
metallicnymph metallicnymph 7 years
i love physical activity, and i love drinking socially. perhaps this is just indicative of a particular personality type? who knows, who cares. obviously, it does not mean if you drink more you'll be inspired to work out more, etc. correlation is not causation. i love the results of this study, it acknowledges the fact that drinking and physical activities are often combined. all the social physical activities that are often accompanied by drinking... leisurely playing sand volleyball, snowboarding, dancing...
weffie weffie 7 years
I'm more active when I drink because it makes me dance my pants off :) If I go to the club even once a week I add like 3 hours of cardio I might not otherwise get.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
Yoga for life, thank you for pointing out that this study in no way indicates a cause/effect relationship. It's just a positive correlation. chloe bella had the exact thought that I did; this sounds like college. I also want to add that sometimes this could be a social pressure effect in addition to just being "socially outgoing".
poptart-princess poptart-princess 7 years
it's funny because, anytime i get buzzed, i start thinking about how much i need to work out. but of course, getting on a treadmill or StairMaster tipsy is no way to go. funnier still, is that while i can't even count out 10 reps, or focus on my form or even balance without getting distracted when i strength train straight, i can do it all perfectly after 2 glasses of wine. so in a way, alcohol is a slight performance enhancer.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
Again, I wish I could give up booze on the weekends...because that is the only time I drink. Damn it.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I also don't think one or two glasses is considered heavy drinking. Not unless you are using a fishbowl as a wineglass - most wineglasses don't hold much liquid.
syako syako 7 years
I've also spent some years doing academic research and I know about controls and causal relationships. In my first comment, I pointed out what I thought was incomplete about your assumption. In the next comment, I pointed out that you were attributing a lot more to the study than what they researchers actually studied. I don't care if you want to throw out this research as bogus, and I don't care if you disagree with it. Also your statement that a survey cannot establish a causal relationship isn't necessarily accurate, there are advanced statistical methods that can prove relationships based on survey responses without an experimental design.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Yogaforlife makes a good point. I don't think it really proves that drinking causes people to exercise more, or vice versa. It just shows that there's not necessarily a correlation between exercising more and drinking less.
irisheyes1212 irisheyes1212 7 years
@sundaygreen "I LOVE my glass of red wine after work, no one can ever take that away from me or call me a 'heavy drinker' - what bull! I'd consider half a bottle of wine a day heavy drinking!" Ummm you have one glass...1/2 a bottle is only two glasses. So according to your reasoning, you're halfway there to being a heavy drinker... Point being 2 glasses is not heavy drinking either.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I'm actually not surprised by this. I went to a big state college, and the same stick thin sorority girls who were going out to bars every night were also at the Rec center working out every day. I'm older now (well, 26) and only go out once a week at most, but as another observation, my friends who don't ever go out also don't exercise. They prefer to sit at home and watch tv or go to movies. So I can see to some extent how it goes hand in hand, in that some people just like to get out and do things in groups, whether it be going out to dinner/drinking or going out to exercise classes, group runs, etc.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
They are claiming that drinker's are more active but they didn't show a connection between the two. They did a survey and are inferring that if a person responds both A (drink) and B (exercise) together, that they must be linked. You commented on my my statement about the 20 minutes of extra exercise not cancelling out the calories of drinking daily. I made that statement based on the fact that they did not mention the people decreasing the number of calories they consumed to compensate for the alcohol. If I can't assume that the diets did not change due to alcohol consumption, you cannot assume that they decreased consumption of other food to compensate for the alcohol. That's why I just don't buy into surveys that try to show a cause/effect link. It needs to be a study done with controls so that as many unknown variables as possible are limited. I spent a few years doing academic research and there's no way a survey of people's answers would have been used to show a definitive cause/effect link between something. At most it suggests that there may be a link and more research is needed. I wouldn't even consider this study a proof of concept.
xxdeed xxdeed 7 years
Yeah, "more active" doesn't mean healthier or in better shape. This survey doesn't really prove or say anything. Although personally, I'm attending college at PSU and it's really tough to go out without drinking (who wants to be sober with a million people screaming in your ear? Annoying!) so I make sure to exercise almost every day and follow a vegan diet.
syako syako 7 years
All they are saying is that drinkers are more active. That's it. Not that they consume less calories. Not that they weigh less. Not that they are healthier. They are just more active.
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