Drinking liquor can lead to the loss of balance and coordination, causing you to overwork your muscles whether you drink moderate or high amounts. This may result in muscle soreness the day after or even beyond. Your brain and body can suffer the effects of drinking five or more alcoholic beverages for up to three days, according to the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at the University of Notre Dame. In fact, two consecutive nights of heavy drinking can produce negative effects for up to five days.
Alcohol can interfere with the breakdown of lactic acid and increase muscle soreness after physical activity, according to the University of California-San Diego. Your body stores alcohol much like it does fat. The alcohol damages amino acids, which are needed for energy. The amino acids convert to fat, interfering with energy pathways and producing large amounts of lactic acid, causing a decrease in energy and muscle recovery, while increasing muscle soreness. Alcohol also adds calories and contributes to body fat.
Drinking too much liquor can cause severe dehydration and cell imbalances that can lead to muscle cramps, muscle pulls and muscle strains for athletes. You can lose muscle mass from alcohol, resulting in decreased strength and performance. Fatigue can set in during athletic training and competition, increasing the risk of injury. Delayed reaction time and mental capabilities can be affected for several days after alcohol consumption. This heightens the risk of injury because of decreased hand-eye coordination and impaired judgment.
Heavy drinking or binge drinking increases acid production and interferes with the ability of the cells in the body to absorb vitamins and minerals, leading to deficiencies in nutrients. The deficiencies may interfere with your body’s ability to control blood glucose, resulting in low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar levels can cause a significant loss in energy, disrupting the normal function of your body and muscles.
Drinking After Exercise
Moderate consumption of alcohol following exercise can cause a loss in muscle strength, according to researchers at Massey University in New Zealand. They analyzed 11 healthy men who performed leg exercises with no alcohol intake. The subjects later performed similar exercises and then consumed a drink of vodka and orange juice. Exercise-related losses in muscle function were magnified after drinking the alcoholic beverages, the researchers reported in the January 2010 issue of the “Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.”
- University of Notre Dame: Your Body and Alcohol
- University of California-San Diego Athletic Performance Nutrition Bulletin: Alcohol and Athletic Performance
- “Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport;” Acute Alcohol Consumption Aggravates the Decline in Muscle Performance Following Strenuous Eccentric Exercise; M. Barnes, T. Mundel, S. Stannard; January 2010
- Science of Soccer Online; No Place for Alcohol; June 2009