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Is It Safe to Exercise After Having a Couple of Drinks?

You Asked: Working Out Buzzed?

Hey Fit,
I had post-work appetizers and drinks with a girlfriend last night, and as we departed she said she was heading to the gym. Granted, we each had two light beers over maybe an hour and 20 minutes, but it surprised me that she'd go work out after a couple drinks. She said she doesn't do it all the time, but if she's not feeling too tipsy it actually helps her kind of zone out and get into her workout, and by the time she's finished any possible buzz is gone. Is this healthy to do?

There are days when we try to pack it all in: work, catching up with friends, working out. With the recent news that folks who drink regularly tend to exercise more, I suspect this dilemma is increasingly common. To see what I have to say on the matter, keep reading.

While alcohol can make you feel giddy after a few sips, it is a depressant. Alcohol affects your nervous system and acts as a mild anesthetic and tranquilizer. Essentially it slows you down, negatively impacting your reaction time, and impairs your balance as well as your hand-eye coordination. Alcohol also reduces your strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity. It will also interfere with your body's ability to metabolize fat and create muscle growth. Having alcohol in your system when exercising can also increase your recovery period, making you more sore post-workout. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will increase your need to urinate, and combined with sweating while working out, can lead to dehydration.


Add this to the list of reasons not to knock back a few drinks before hitting the treadmill: the effects of alcohol peak about 40 to 90 minutes after drinking, and it will stay in your bloodstream until the liver can process it. Your friend might not have felt too buzzed when she left the bar, but she probably wasn't feeling the full effect of the alcohol.

Bottom line: I don't think it is a good idea to have a couple of drinks before hitting the gym. You are more likely to injure yourself due to lack of coordination, and alcohol interferes with your body's ability to reap the benefits of the workout.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
It's funny that this question was posted, since I often get the weirdest urge to work out after a few drinks. I thought I was the only one...
vanillabean vanillabean 7 years
That's a strange combination. My balance is already off as it is. I'm sure I would seriously injure myself if I tried this workup technique.
splashkpl splashkpl 7 years
for a while i used to work our buzzed. i loved it. i felt like i had more energy. yea, it is probably a bad idea because it's more likely one would injure themselves but i'm just saying it's not that ridiculous.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Weird; I'd never consider doing just seems kind of like a really bad idea to me. Alcohol makes me sleepy and calm; definitely not ready to work out! I guess this is why you usually enjoy the booze after you work out, lol.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 7 years
One more reason to try to get your workout in in the morning, I guess.
weffie weffie 7 years
I don't think I'd be motivated enough to bother going to the gym, but when I go out I usually dance for hours, so I'm doing more cardio than I normally would at the gym and getting more and more hammered as the night goes on... it's never seemed to hurt me any more than just drinking without the dancing. There have, however, been a few occasions when I've lost track of time playing DDR after a few drinks and woken up with REALLY sore legs :)
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
wow this is so interesting that other people have done this or considered it, thanks for chiming in :D
briannaNicole briannaNicole 7 years
I'm also glad you posted this today! I think the response was a little harsh though. It's pretty obvious if you're unbalanced, having trouble walking/talking, you probably shouldn't head into the gym with a 10 mile run on your agenda. I had a jack and diet coke about 45 minutes before hitting the gym and honestly felt great (and still do this morning), especially about the fact that I worked out rather than going home and vegging. I personally don't think one light drink will do very much harm, but a sober workout is preferable of course.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
It's kind of funny that this question is answered today. Just last night I had a beer with dinner. Only one beer, but it was a pretty strong one (Hitachino Espresso Stout.. mmmm) I was a little buzzed and felt a bit guilty for drinking the extra calories. I would never run on the treadmill or anything like that after drinking, but i did do a bunch of crunches and push ups. woops.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I didn't know people do this - never even occurred to me to work out after a drink. Although - I do love to go dancing when I drink, and I'm always so sore the next day from it that I think I got a good workout.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
It was a good question. I can't even imagine working out with a little buzz on. but then again I'm very much a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, it doesn't take much lol.
nancita nancita 7 years
That was a good question! I have been known to head to the gym after one light drink, such as a glass of champagne, but anything else and it seems like a bad idea. Plus, I know a lot of tennis players who are keen on playing while drinking, and it has led to injuries!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
thanks! it really seemed weird to me.... I'll stick with sober work outs (unless you count dancing at a bar... in that case...)
Food Food 7 years
Interesting. Mamasitamalita, that was a good question!
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
I agree. I had a friend who would do this as well and I thought it didn't make much sense.
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