Drinkers Exercise More than Non-Drinkers, Study Says

April 7, 2010

It’s no secret that healthy habits help you save money on health insurance, but did you know that that alcohol consumption is linked to those habits in ways most of us never considered?

There have been several clinical studies of the way alcohol consumption affects health, and one of them found that people who regularly drink alcohol also tend to exercise more than people who don’t, and a completely separate study discovered that drinkers are more likely to eat unhealthy foods.

A number of studies have been conducted about alcohol consumption and your health. One recently found that people who consume alcohol on a regular basis tend to exercise more than teetotalers. On the other hand, another recent study (conducted by a different organization) discovered that drinkers are more likely to eat unhealthy foods.

The first study, which was published late last fall in the American Journal of Health Promotion, said that heavy drinkers exercised almost 20 minutes more per week than people who didn’t drink at all, while moderate and light drinkers found time in their weeks for 10.1 and 5.7 extra minutes of exercise, respectively. Based on a phone survey of 230,000 Americans, conducted annually, the report cited a “strong statistical association” between alcohol use and moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

On the other hand, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has done some studies of their own, and with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Cancer Institute, they took a look at the habits of about 15,000 American adults, and learned that exercise aside, drinkers tend to eat less fruit than non-drinkers. In addition, drinkers go for the fatty foods and, because of those foods, and the sugar content in alchoholic drinks, also tend to consume more calories than their teetotaling peers.

Does this mean everyone should immediately do an extra mile on the treadmill every time they have a glass of red wine with dinner? Probably not. But it does mean that even if we’re not trying to improve our insurance rates, we should all pay more attention to diet and exercise.