Alcohol has a number of effects on health. Short-term effects of alcohol consumption include intoxication and dehydration. Long-term effects of alcohol consumption include changes in the metabolism of the liver and brain and alcoholism.
Why are we affected by alcohol in the blood concentration?
The blood alcohol concentration is the amount of alcohol in the body divided by the total body water. This goes up when the body takes in alcohol faster than it can metabolize it. When alcohol enters the body about 20% is absorbed by the stomach. The heart then pumps the absorb alcohol into your blood stream and to your brain. Once alcohol is in the brain it can affect your judgment, balance, memory and speech. This happens because the alcohol acts on the nerve cells and slows down communication between the nerve cells.
How does Alcohol affect Fitness?
Alcohol can reduce your strength, endurance, aerobic capability, recovery time, ability to metabolize fat, and even your muscle growth as well. Alcohol will also have an impact on your nervous system and brain. It can cause severe weakening of your central nervous system causing nerve muscle interaction to be reduced which will result in a loss of strength.
Alcohol is a diuretic, drinking too much can result in dehydration because the alcohol makes your kidney produce more urine. Exercising soon after drinking alcohol can make this dehydration worse because you sweat as your body temperature rises. Combined, sweating and the diuretic effect of exercise make dehydration much more likely. You need to be hydrated when you exercise to maintain the flow of blood through your body, which is essential for circulating oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.
Inflammation of the muscle cells can occur with excess use of alcohol. Too much alcohol can also leave you with more soreness of your muscles after you exercise thus taking a longer time to recover.
Alcohol can also have a great impact on you liver. Your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder your liver has to work. The extra stress alcohol places on your liver can cause serious damage and even destroy some of your liver cells. Over periods of time, some of the cells that have been damaged can die which will result in less functional muscle contractions.
Alcohol can also have an impact on your heart and circulatory system. When you drink any type of alcohol, you may begin to see a reduction in your endurance capabilities. Anytime you drink, your heat loss will increase, due to the alcohol simulating your blood vessels to dilate. The loss in heat can cause your muscles to become quite cold, therefore becoming slower and weaker during your muscle contractions.
Drinking alcohol can also lead to digestive and nutrition problems. Alcohol causes a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen, which stores fat and makes the loss of fat very hard. Due to alcohol interfering with the absorption of several key nutrients, you can also become anaemic and deficient with B type vitamins. If your journey is to walk a fitness path, you really should evaluate the impact that alcohol can have on your overall health.