Beer: The Best Recovery Drink?


Some of the better runners I know are also some of the most avid beer fans. It seems like Image Courtesy of Idea Go/ freedigitalphotos.netthey 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.



  1. Thanks for the post!!! My non-running friends can’t understand why I love to have a beer after a race!

    • I always suspected there was something to drinking a beer after a run when some of the guys I ran with made a point to end our long weekend runs at a pub in Dupont Circle or in Georgetown. I thought they were kidding when they told me about some of the legitimate benefits of a post-workout beer, but low and behold, there really is science there to back them up!

  2. Tim Foley says:

    I will buck the trend. I think beer after a run is about the worst thing I have had after any run. I have had nothing but bad experience with beers after a run, and the thought of it sounds unappealing. I would choose a Gatorade or water every time after a run.

    • I probably should have clarified that I was talking about one or two beers after long runs. I was more or less suggesting that the treat some people indulge in after long runs could not only be not bad for you, it could potentially have some good effects.

      I don’t know that I’d suggest having two or three beers after every run. I’ve had a few after some of my long runs, but in all honesty, I usually don’t drink a beer after my shorter runs during the week.

    • Tim, we’ve got different blood groups so I do agree with u 100% ok…

  3. I am a runner and a MAJOR beer lover, so any excuse to drink beer is a good excuse in my book 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great blog post! I do drink beer allot so I can relate.

  5. Best news I’ve had all week! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Amen to this! “Will run for beer!” Lol I’m guilty as charged! 🙂

  7. Good article, although I am from the same mindset as Tim (give me a water or sports drink after a long run). Also, what type of beer would someone want to drink? Good IPAs have a lot more calories (and alcohol) then Bud (if that really is beer)….maybe it would be a good idea to stick to a moderate beer-like an Alaskan Pale Ale for a post run drink!

  8. I can never leave a bottle of beer out after my soccer training and it has really being helpful…..


  1. […] mind had one of my favorite beers on tap and since I’m a big believer in beer being a good recovery drink, I was all for having a beer or two after the […]

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