Are you the type of person to hit up happy hour after you finish that afternoon spin class? If so, there might be a scientific reason why you do.
According to The New York Times, two recent studies have found a correlation between exercising and drinking. Back in 2001, one study found that people who indulged in around one drink per day were twice as likely to exercise regularly. Unfortunately, previous studies like these were unreliable because they rarely considered the age and gender of the participants, which could largely affect a person’s drinking and exercise habits. Additionally, participants would be categorized as exercisers who drank even if they worked out on a Thursday and got trashed on a Friday.
More recently, Penn State University analyzed 150 men and women ranging from 18 to 75 years of age and their drinking and exercise routines. The study was done in the course of one year. After filling out a lifestyle questionnaire, participants would record their daily drinking and exercise routine in a smartphone app that would automatically send daily reports the the scientists. According to the research found in the study “people drank more than usual on the same days that they engaged in more physical activity than usual.” This idea ran true across each age bracket and both genders.
The Times notes the data did not find a correlation between exercise and binge drinking. Participants rarely reported heavy drinking.
In the second study, conducted by the University of Houston, lab rodents were used to demonstrate how exercise and alcohol can stimulate the reward system in the brain. J. Leigh Leasure, an associate professor at the University, explains “Feeling a slight buzz after a workout… we may, without overt volition, look to extend and intensify that feeling with a beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail.” Additionally, people often choose to drink after a workout due to the social component associated with sports.
Ultimately, the studies found that working out and drinking a brewskie are two activities that frequently intersect.
[via The New York Times]