Sport and Alcohol

Physical activity has a lot of health benefits, but alcohol is likely to offset these benefits and, even worse, cause harmful effects to your body. In general, pre-exercise drinking can affect athletic performance or cause accidents. Drinking after exercise may lead the body to restore its function at a slower pace. In addition, drinking increases the risk of obesity.



Pre-exercise drinking

If you choose to drink before exercise, you might be at risk of:
Low blood sugar

Alcohol interferes with the way your body produces energy. When your liver breaks down alcohol, it cannot produce enough glucose, leading to a low blood sugar level that hinders energy supply.


Alcohol is a diuretic. Drink too much can result in a lack of body fluids, because alcohol makes your kidneys produce more urine. Your body temperature rises during exercise. Sweating, aggregated by drinking, can worsen dehydration.

Accidents and injuries

The property of alcohol that makes you relax can affect your central nervous system and slow down the processing of messages. This affects your response, coordination, accuracy and balance. This may further disturb your sport performance, leading to injury, accidents, and even death - drowning is associated with swimming after alcohol use for example.


Drinking after exercise

Even if you choose to drink after exercise, alcohol might impose a risk on:
Slower muscle recovery

Drinking after exercise may slow down the production of muscle proteins. Alcohol can inhibit the metabolism of muscles and may therefore impair the recovery and/or subsequent performance of your body.


Alcohol can cause obesity

It is worth paying attention that alcohol can increase the risk of obesity:

Each gram of pure alcohol contains about 7 kcal of “empty calories” which does not provide any nutrition. A can of beer (330 ml) approximately contains 142 kcal of calories, about equal to that of half a bowl of rice, or 7 lumps of sugar. In addition, alcohol impedes the absorption of nutrients, resulting in deficiency of vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, C and so on.


  • Alcohol causes cancer and should not be used for improving health.
  • If you don’t drink, do not start drinking.
  • If you choose to drink, limit your drinking after knowing the risk to minimise alcohol harm.
  • Please note there is no safety level for drinking.
  • For your health and lowering risk of cancers, you can reduce your drinking step by step. Staying sober is the best option.
  • Children, adolescents and pregnant women should not drink.


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