A new study finds that moderate and even heavy drinkers tend to be more active than those who abstain from alcohol. Researcher Michael T. French of the University of Miami and colleagues found that heavier drinkers exercised 20 minutes more per week than non-drinkers, while light to moderate drinkers exercised 10 minutes more weekly. Heavy drinking was defined as consuming 76 alcoholic drinks (of 14g) monthly - i.e. above 35g a day for men and 46 drinks per month for women (more than 21g of alcohol a day). Moderate drinking was defined as consuming between 30 and 75 drinks monthly for men and 15 to 45 drinks for women.
Drinkers were more likely to engage in vigorous exercise than non-drinkers, as well. The researchers speculated that some drinkers exercise to burn off alcohol calories or may be sensation-seekers prone to both drinking and exercise. Or, they said, moderate drinking could just be part of an overall “healthy” lifestyle. A low definition of heavy drinking for women at 21g a day, may well have affected the results.
The study appears in the September/October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.