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Beer and the modern runner!
One of my favorite cartoon characters is known to say this line as he is about to guzzle down a Duff.Beer has long been associated with bars and country music, hunting and fishing, western movies and Super Bowls.Beer has been guzzled at Friday night fights, hoe downs and poker games. But beer is not just guzzled at events like these any more.
This delightful, foamy concoction has climbed up the social ladder and rivals wine.We see craft brew pubs popping up on every corner.We see beer tastings and beer festivals throughout the year, not just at Oktoberfest.There are now homebrew competitions and ratings for beer.We are now educated on how to pair beer with meals other than burgers and pretzels.
Beer has also become more popular with runners and triathletes.There’s beer based running clubs, like the Hash House Harriors, that claim they are a drinking club with a running problem.Many races today offer a cold one with their post-race party.I’ve always said beer is a good recovery drink because it has carbs.Beer also has no fat, a little bit of protein and electrolytes.That’s good, right?Not everyone agrees. I read in a Runner’s World article about a study at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine that showed water and sports drink to be superior replacement fluids compared to beer alone.Now this is in terms of final post-exercise hydration.I’m sure there are more studies that confirm this finding.
However, a New York Times article, Runners Who Love Beer, by Jen A. Miller, reports on a study by Dr. Manuel J. Castillo, a professor of medical physiology at the University of Granada School of Medicine in Spain, who has studied the effect of beer on athletic performance.He looked for research on the value and wisdom of having a beer after strenuous workouts but couldn’t find any.So, since Dr. Castillo could not find any research to back up the value of beer after workouts, he did his own.
In his study, he had 16 physically active men run on a treadmill for an hour in a heated room.Then he had them drink either water or two cans of a standard beer with a 4.5% alcohol content.The findings – a moderate amount of beer after exercise didn’t adversely affect these young athletes’ recovery.He found that the two cans of beer was as effective as water for recovery from exercise.His study also found that the sugars, salts and bubbles in a pint can help athletes absorb fluids more quickly than rehydrating with water.
Another recent study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism provided further evidence that beer had benefits for runners.Researchers at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, had seven men vigorously exercise until they lost about 2% of their body mass.Afterward, they had one of four fluid replacements; light beer, light beer with added salt, standard beer or standard beer with salt.Salt was added because of the known benefits of electrolytes for rehydration.The research found that drinking the light beer with added salt produced the greatest benefit and didn’t put athletes at great risk of further dehydration.
You can read all the studies and articles on whether beer is beneficial for runners or not, but I believe you will have to decide for yourself if beer is right for you.Like learning how to fuel for a long run and finding which foods are best for your running, you need to experiment with recovery beverages and decide which one works best for your recovery.I find that a beer after a hot, humid race is great, but it’s not for me all the time.I also like to have a nice cold glass of chocolate milk after a long, hard, hot, sweltering training run.If you love to tip a pint after your exercise, go ahead.But, please don’t overdo, and don’t drink and drive.Enjoy but be responsible.Cheers.
There’s so many beverages that help with recovering after exercise, like smoothies, milk, water, or electrolyte drinks, so we wonder what your favorite post exercise recovery beverage is.Post your comment right her we’d love hear from you.