Grab a beer to celebrate – adults who drink alcohol could offset some of the health risks associated with it by exercising just two and a half hours a week, a study has suggested.
Drinking too much has been associated with heart disease, stroke and several types of cancer. But spending a little bit of time doing light exercise may offset all of that.
New research by the University of Sydney and University College London found that drinking – even within guidelines – raises the risk of early death by at least 16 per cent. It also raises the risk of cancer by 47 per cent.
But 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise completely cancelled out the impact of death from all causes while lowering the cancer risk by 36 per cent, the Huffington Post reports. It also reduced the chance of dying from drinking too much by more than half.
If you’re not a gym head, don’t worry. The study showed that light activity such as walking, gardening, or playing golf could help offset the health risks.
So how does it all work? Scientists believe that drinking alcohol and exercising share a similar metabolic pathway in the body but operate in opposing directions. Alcohol forces the liver to stop getting rid of fatty acids, but exercise does the reverse and uses up fat as fuel. Basically, exercise protects your body from the damage alcohol does to it.
However, the study did not take into account drinking habits or other dietary factors which can also influence a person’s health.
The study said: “Our results provide an additional argument for the role of (physical activity) as a means to promote the health of the population even in the presence of other less healthy behaviours.”
So if you drink like a sailor, smoke like a chimney and have Dominos for breakfast, the same results probably won’t apply to you.