Can a Beer Be a Viable Post Workout Recovery Drink?
One thing to remember about heavy exercise is that post-workout recovery is nearly as important as stretching and getting loose prior to lifting weights, going on a run, biking, etc. When you exercise the body uses up a lot of electrolytes and other important minerals, so it’s extremely important to replace them.
The most common way that people replace electrolytes is with sports drinks, but there are studies that show that although they do replace some minerals they also contain a lot of sodium. That’s why it’s worth exploring whether having a beer and relaxing with a trip to an online casino is a good way to recover from a workout.
Physical Benefits of Having a Beer After Working Out
First off, beer isn’t necessarily an ideal post-workout beverage but it does have some beneficial qualities. When you exercise your body burns up stored carbs called glycogen, and you need these for energy throughout the day. Beer almost famously contains carbs – about 10 to 15 grams per can – so having a brewski does help restore those reserves.
The #1 reason that sports drinks after a workout are so popular are because they tout the many advantages of replacing electrolytes. Beer contains these electrolytes, specifically sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Specialty ‘wellness beers’ are brewed with even more electrolytes and sea salt with a lower alcohol content.
Malt and hops also has antioxidant properties which can help fight off chronic inflammation and help muscle healing after a workout. Some beers contain the antioxidant polyphenol which is found in fruits and vegetables. This is why moderate consumption of beers has shown to reduce risks of cancer and improve heart health.
Beer Has Mental Workout Benefits As Well
As always with alcohol, moderation is key because the same brain rewarding benefits that a beer or two has can also be detrimental if done in excess. For example, if the thought of having a beer after working out is what gives you the motivation to go to the gym, then that’s a good thing. When you have too many and are hungover and skip exercise the next day that is not ideal.
Many races or cross-training activities like Tough Mudder have incorporated the post-race beer into the event as a motivation and a reward for finishing. It’s become a great practice to bond with other racers to talk about the event in much the same way a beer with the softball team or rec league basketball squad would after a game. Bonding improves mood, and being generally happier is only beneficial to overall health.
Variation is the Key
Beer definitely has some post-workout benefits every now and then, but most experts don’t recommend it daily because that can be habit forming. At the same time though, sports drinks do contain a lot of sugar and they aren’t recommended for every workout especially if the exercise is a bit less strenuous. Mixing things up seems to be the best approach, having a beer after a Monday or a Friday workout as a reward.
Experts also stress that the post-workout beer should be of lower alcohol volume and limited to two. The third and forth beers (and so on) can be counterintuitive to the exercise you just did by slowing muscle protein synthesis, and therefore not letting you recover as fast.
When you have extra beers you also have to urinate more which only increases dehydration. The post workout recovery is about replacing fluids, not further depleting them.
One of the reasons that many people end their workout plans is because they get stale. Once the brain is set in a certain routine it isn’t as stimulated, and thus doesn’t get as much out of the workout as it once did. That’s why it’s always important to keep mixing up muscle memory and brain stimulation. If Monday or Friday being ‘post workout beer day’ and that variation is what gets you to the gym then that is very much a benefit.