Booze often gets a bad rap. Sure, after a long night of drinking one might feel like death the next day, but earlier this summer a disturbing study published in the academic journal Addiction directly linked the consumption of alcohol to seven different forms of cancer.
While the numerous drawbacks of pounding beers has been well-documented over the years—and drinkers have long been dragging themselves to the gym the next morning in the hopes of assuaging their guilt—new research claims that basic exercise can literally “cancel out” the risk of cancer-related death brought on by boozing.
The recommended amount of moderate physical activity—150 minutes a week dedicated to brisk walking, swimming, or mowing the lawn, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services—can lessen the risk of death from other causes related to alcohol, too.
The study was published at the end of August in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and looked at the exercise and drinking habits of 36,370 people in England and Scotland over the age of 40. To begin with, researchers found that drinking “hazardous levels” of alcohol was in fact linked to a heightened risk of death from all causes, and that the more liquor one consumed, the more likely they were to die from cancer, specifically.
There are, of course, a few caveats here. The only groups exercise didn’t seem to help much were men who drank over 28 standard drinks per week, and women who drank over 20. As CNN points out, the study is also observational and can only “suggest a relationship” between exercise and reduced risk of death, relying on reports from participants and failing to take into account eating habits or medication.
Still, it’s hard to image a downside to exercising more. And if you’re thinking 150 minutes of physical activity is too much for lazy, beer-chugging ass, this study is essentially saying you can mow your lawn for 21 minutes a day, drink copious amounts of booze, and still reduce your risk of, you know, possibly dying. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.
“I know very few chronic medical conditions that exercise will not have a positive impact on," Michael Hyek, the senior director of OhioHealth's McConnell Heart Health Center, told CNN. "It's a good thing regardless of what your circumstances are."