By Dr Christine Fraser, Osteopath.
It is coming to the end of July and hence the end of Dry July, something a 160,000 Australian’s have been apart of since 2008. They have raised $37 million for people affected by cancer, and funded projects at more than 75 cancer organisations across Australia. Apart from the feel-good nature from going dry in July, I was interested in the benefits for the body and your exercise regime, going without alcohol for a month could have.
Here are 5 interesting facts I found (all available on https://www.dryjuly.com)
- Improved quality of sleep and increased energy.
- Enhanced work performance and improved concentration.
- Possible decreased weight.
- Decreased cholesterol and lower blood glucose.
- Decreased liver fat.
How does this all translate? Well, when you look at training, be it running or weights, there are some key indicators for improved quality of your training session. To get the most out of your session, 8 hours of sleep is recommended, and if you’re sleeping better because you’re not drinking alcohol, this may just be the answer you need. Also, I’m sure you’re with me when you’re feeling flat as a tack and your training session picks you up, but it’s never your best. So, more energy will also translate into a better training session.
I like efficiency and if your laser-focused this will help you too. Excessive amounts of alcohol can make you feel foggy and lead to blackouts. Within 5 weeks of not drinking, you become more focused and clear. This is a win in all aspects of life! One suggestion on the Dry July website is to make early morning weekend commitments and stick to them. This could be a training session at the gym, a walk with a friend or a long run along your favourite track. Going dry in July will help you sleep better, wake up fresher and assist you to show up for yourself and your training buddies.
When your training, additional weight can lead to extra joint stress. By cutting out alcohol, you also cut out the sneaky calories associated with it. This is where weight loss generally comes from. When you carry less weight, your joints will be happier during your workouts and often you’ll get more out of them. Decreased weight will also lead to better control of cholesterol, blood glucose control and blood pressure. Did you know that if alcohol is the contributing factor for your high blood pressure, that in 3-4 weeks it may begin to normalise? Amazing right?
Alcohol can also play havoc on your blood sugar levels and the health of your liver. This may have knock-on effects for the rest of your body’s health. In 12-24hours your blood sugar starts to normalise as part of the detoxification process and in 5 weeks of going dry, your liver may show decreased signs of fatty liver disease, a major health concern for Western society. For longevity and well as amazing energy production and healing we need our liver to be in tip top shape. Isn’t it amazing what the body can do in 5 weeks?
So, not only will your gratitude and empathy cups be fuller, your body will be more primed to make the most of your training and exercise schedule, making you a step closer to your health and lifestyle goals. What’s next? I’m a big advocate for a balance where possible and do enjoy a glass of wine on the weekend. If you’re off alcohol for good, amazing go you! If you’d still like to enjoy a glass in moderation, also completely fine. Try and aim for 4 alcohol-free days (AFD’s) per week and if you’re having a couple of drinks, have a glass of water in between each drink. For more tips and tricks, head over to the dry July website (https://www.dryjuly.com). Enjoy responsibly.