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How Does Alcohol Affect Muscles?

A man hunches over to catch his breath after going on a run.
Alcohol abuse can have devastating effects on your physical health – particularly muscle growth and recovery.

Everyone knows that exercise is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. Its positive effects on the body and mind are well studied and widely accepted, and anyone who is striving to achieve or maintain health and wellness must incorporate regular exercise into their routine.

It’s important to realize that a person’s diet is even more important than exercise when it comes to overall health. What you consume will either benefit or harm your body, and can greatly affect the gains you make from your workouts.

Many adults consume some amount of alcohol, so it’s important to understand how alcohol affects muscle growth and recovery. Those who have regularly consumed alcohol in excess have likely impaired muscle growth, and greatly reduced any benefit they may get from exercise.

This blog will explain how alcohol consumption interferes with muscle growth and prevents gains from exercise from being made.

Does Alcohol Affect Athletic Performance?

Consumption of alcohol can impair a process in your body called glycogen synthesis. This process is a part of how your body derives energy, including energy for your workout. Impairing this process leads to lower energy and a less effective workout.

Also, alcohol causes dehydration. This can make it harder for oxygen to reach your muscles, leading to low energy. And dehydration also causes cramps and inflammation, which results in a greater risk of injury. Injury forces you to take extended breaks from exercise, impeding progress and harming your overall health.

Rest is also crucially important, not only in the recovery process after a workout, but to give you the energy to perform well at your next workout. Although alcohol is a depressant and may not impair your ability to fall asleep, it’s been proven that it does interfere with deep sleep, which is important for physical recovery, energy levels and overall health.

Does Alcohol Affect Muscle Recovery?

When you exercise, you break down muscle tissue. Your body then reacts to this breakdown by healing the muscle during rest after your workout. This is why it’s so important to get proper sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle. You must also eat ample amounts of protein, so your body has the nutrients it needs to rebuild your muscle while you rest.

The process of rebuilding muscle is called Muscle Protein Synthesis, or MPS. Alcohol affects muscle building because it interferes with MPS, keeping you from realizing the gains you could be making from your workouts, and impeding your progress. It has been proven that this is the case even when you eat extra protein or take protein supplements such as whey powder in order to maximize muscle gain. If you have alcohol in your system, you won’t be able to build muscle like you otherwise could.

Alcohol affects muscles by impacting your immune system and can lower the levels of some hormones such as testosterone, which is a necessary part of muscle building and recovery.

How Does Alcohol Affect Muscle and Metabolism?

Drinking alcohol lowers inhibitions and causes people to consume more calories than they otherwise might. This, along with the extra calories consumed in the alcohol itself often leads to overeating and weight gain. Alcohol is also shown to slow your metabolism, which decreases the rate at which your body is able to burn calories.

Your body reacts to alcohol as if it is a toxin, and when it’s identified in your system, your body focuses on removing it. This puts your metabolism on hold while your body tries to flush the toxin from your system. Your body will then burn the alcohol calories for fuel rather than turning to your fat stores for energy.

The organ that is most responsible for filtering out toxins from your body is the liver. Excess consumption of alcohol forces your liver to work overtime, and the burning of alcohol calories instead of fat can lead to fatty liver. This can lead to any number of health problem, as proper liver function is so important for removing toxins from your body.

Exercise and Addiction Recovery

Once you’re ready to take steps on the road to lasting recovery, proper diet, exercise and adequate rest are all important aspects of a healthy lifestyle moving forward. Exercise in particular can play such an important role in recovery. It’s been proven that exercise relieves stress and reduces anxiety and depression.

As you become more fit and healthy, you begin to feel better about yourself. Even feeling as though you look better can be a boost to your confidence and overall happiness. You will become more alert, and you’ll be able to get much better quality sleep, which leads to better health and recovery.

Exercise can even change your brain chemistry. Just like addiction changes the reward centers of your brain, exercise over time will cause your body to release endorphins, and you will eventually retrain your body to find balance again.

If you need help with alcohol dependency, contact the Raleigh House. Our experts are ready to help you from the very first steps of careful detoxification to the long-term treatment of therapy, healthy diet and exercise, and freedom from addiction.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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