Some of the better runners I know are also some of the most avid beer fans. It seems like they all talk about the latest and greatest IPA or the little-known hole in the wall place with the best craft beers on draught. Some runners brew it and some even set up their long runs to end up at their favorite watering hole. At least in my little corner of the world, good runners seem to really love their beer. For awhile there, I was beginning to think there was correlation between beer drinking and running well.
Turns out, that assumption may not be entirely wrong.
Beer – It Does Your Heart Good
According to a speech given by Dr. H.F.J. Hendriks at the Beer and Health Symposium 2011 moderate beer consumption can aid in cardiovascular health and may actually increase the benefits gained through cardiovascular exercise. The first time I went to the doctor for a check up after I started running, the doctor asked me if I engaged in regular cardiovascular activity because my heart rate and blood pressure were so good. Running surely played a big part in those numbers, but it turns out occasionally imbibing my favorite IPA may have helped out too.
Best Post Run Drink – Beer!
According to a recent study, drinking beer after a workout works better to rehydrate you than water or a sports drink:
Spanish researchers say beer can help someone who is dehydrated retain liquid better than water.
Prof Manuel Garzon, of Granada University, also claimed the bubbles in beer help to quench the thirst and that its carbohydrate content can help to replace lost calories.
Beer does contain electrolytes and there are some who believe the carbohydrates in a pint can help replenish calories lost during a run. The bubbles, sugar and salts in beer also help your stomach absorb the beer faster than water. There seems to be a beer table at the end of more and more races these days, so there has to be something to all this science right?
Kick Off Your Running Shoes, Tilt Back a Pint and Relax
Extended workouts like long runs increase the production of cortisol in your body and increased amounts of cortisol raise stress levels. Beer naturally reduces your cortisol levels, thereby reducing your overall stress. Water and sports drinks may be quenching, but they’re not going to help you relax after a strenuous run like a beer will.
So What’s The Catch?
Several studies have pointed out that drinking moderate levels of beer have clear benefits while taking part in a consistent workout regimen. If there is any catch, that is it. If you’re drinking beer without working out and expecting to get in shape or reap the benefits mentioned above, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
The aforementioned sugars, salts, carbohydrates and bubbles work to inhibit weight loss which can be a problem if you’re not regularly working out and burning calories. If you’re following the old adage of burning more calories than you take in, and you’re running consistently, a celebratory beer can be a good thing.