Study: Moderate drinkers more likely to exercise

Lifting weights and drinking a beer?

Although putting the two together might not seem like the best idea, it may not actually be a bad one — as long as it’s done in moderation. It’s becoming a trend in larger cities — breweries offering fitness classes or health centers offering alcohol.

“It’s kind of a new thing, the new trend out there,” said fitness expert Jason Laube. “Bigger cities are going to be where they could be, inside the fitness center they have happy hour downstairs, and they have a little bar set out to create more of a social environment to bring people indoors.”

A study done by the University of Miami shows those who drink in moderation are more likely to exercise than those who abstain.

One reason for this could be positive peer pressure — something that has been shown to be a motivator to work out. And another reason? Alcohol and exercise affect the same pathways of the brain and both release dopamine and endorphins.

“It’s the whole mentality — you work hard, you play hard, so there is an offset,” Laube said.

One public health official says the results aren’t surprising, as both exercising and drinking are usually done in social environments.

“Those kind of people have similar characteristics and it’s obviously probably because of the social aspects of exercising,” Health Promotion Specialist Kelli Huinker said. “People like to be together when they exercise. It adds that accountability, and obviously when people are moderate drinkers we hope they do it in a casual, social setting.”

But Huinker cautions that the study just suggests a correlation and is not a free pass to drink as much as you want.

And although moderate drinking, such as one glass of wine a day, has been shown to have cardiac benefits, new studies are suggesting now that might not be the case.

So, the word to remember: Moderation.

“It’s about being smart about what you’re doing and what type of beverages you’re consuming,” Laube said.

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