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Beer and Running: A Perfect Pair?

Oct 13, 2011 10:38PM ● Published by Anonymous

We all know that drinking and driving is never a good idea, but is drinking and running coming into fashion?

This practice is certainly not a new phenomenon. A loosely affiliated group of runners worldwide, known as the Hash House Harriers or H3, have been doing so for decades.

What is new is the wealth of information coming out stating that having a brew or two before or after a race may actually prove beneficial. According to Runner’s World magazine, beer has some of the same benefits as red wine. Its malt and hops—especially in dark beers—contain flavonoids, those great little compounds that can reduce the risk of cancers and heart disease. As a bonus, beer also has chromium and B vitamins, which help the body convert carbs to energy. This can be especially important when running shorter distances, such as 5Ks or 10 milers.

One problem: the alcohol in beer can dehydrate you, so you’re advised to skip it in long endurance runs. And, no matter what the distance, don’t substitute booze for water. Instead, enjoy both in moderation: two bottles of water for each bottle of brew. Or, grab a glass of Erdinger Alkoholfrei, a German beer released last winter specifically designed to be a substitute for sports drinks. While it has the frothy head and the amber color of a bottle of Bud, it is alcohol free and vitamin packed. In fact, several athletes sipped it on the podium in February’s World Cup biathlon with no visible ill effects.

Not convinced that alcohol can aid exercise? It may increase its frequency at least. The American Journal of Health Promotion did a study last September and found that those who drink regularly exercise more often than those who never drink. Women who imbibe 15 to 45 drinks a month, and men who have 30 to 75, workout 20 more minutes a week and more vigorously than those who do not. Good thing, since most beer is not particularly low in calories.

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