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Drinking Beer Post-Run Gets the Hydration Stamp of Approval

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We all know there’s a right and wrong way to treat our body after a run. In the responsible category, we have hydrating, refueling, and stretching. But sometimes you’re squeezing in a quick three-miler before, say, meeting the girls for happy hour—which can easily induce guilt as you reach for a beer before your heart rate has even come down to rest. (Even though you’re scoring these 7 Healthy Reasons to Be Drinking Beer.)

Skip the guilt and grab a pint: Rehydrating with beer doesn’t actually compromise your body’s hydration, according to a new study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Spanish researchers had active guys run for just under an hour in a hot, humid room, causing them to sweat a ton and lose both water and electrolytes. In the next two hours, both groups were offered as much water as they wanted, but one also downed 22 ounces of beer (roughly two bottles). Surprisingly, researchers found that the beer-drinking group's urine samples registered the same levels of rehydration as runners who hydrated more responsibly. (We suggest grabbing one of these 20 Bikini-Friendly Beers to keep your hard work from going to waste.)

Why was this surprising? Because alcohol is traditionally a diuretic (it's one of the reasons you wake up with such a massive hangover when over-indulging). However, an older British study found that when athletes were dehydrated and given just a brewsky (no water), they stayed just as dehydrated as those who were just given non-alcoholic beer. That means that when your body is already dehydrated, the diuretic effect of alcohol is blunted, presumably because your body can't afford to lose any more water.

That explains those dehydrated runners in the Spanish study—they didn't stay dehydrated after loading up on lager because they also had access to water. That’s right—a pint won’t dehyrate your body further if you want to go on a post-run pub run, but you better have a beer in one hand, water in the other. Now that's the kind of double fisting we can get behind.

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