After a challenging workout, all I want to do is sit back, relax, and treat myself to something delicious -- like a decadent pint of sorbet, or a huge, juicy cheeseburger. And I'm positive I'm not alone in this “treat yo'self” post-workout mentality. In fact, one of my friend's favorite cool-down rituals after the gym is to crack open a cold beer. Now, there's plenty of debate about why alcohol isn't really great for you after you exercise. But there are two sides to every story, and lo and behold, there are plenty of reasons why drinking a beer post-workout can actually be a great idea.
Not the least of which, my fitness friends, is about doing things you enjoy, and giving yourself some wiggle room to relax in the ways that feel best for you. As with anything in life, of course, remember to enjoy your post-workout brew in moderation. After all, hangovers are the absolute worst, amirite?
With that in mind, here are just a few reasons why enjoying a cold beer after you get home from the gym is one of the best post-workout treats you can give yourself.
1. Cracking Open A Cold One Can Increase Those Endorphins
A 2012 study published in Science Translational Medicine showed that part of the reason alcohol makes you feel good is that it triggers the release of endorphins -- those same ones that get released during exercise, too.
So, if you've had a bit of a rough day, or you just want an extra boost to have some fun with your friends, a cold brewski at the bar after that long jog can feel freaking amazing.
2. It'll Help You Relax
Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that can help you relax, take your mind off the stresses of the day, and boost your mood as you drink.
Paired with other healthy habits like nutritional meals and that exercise habit you're rocking, a cold one can be a chilly cherry on top of your day.
3. A Post-Workout Beer Might Decrease Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that men who drink occasionally (about one to two servings of beer a day) can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
See, it's all about that moderation, baby.
4. The Occasional Beer Can Increase Bone Density
You may have already known that weight lifting in general is good for your bones, but a bit of beer ain't so bad for them either.
In a study from the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment, after researchers followed over 200,000 women, their results showed that drinking alcohol actually decreased the number of osteoporosis cases.
The possible reason for this? The hops in beer is a high source of flavonoids, which are a natural hormone replacement.
5. Drinking A Post-Workout Beer Can Boost Your Vitamin B6 Levels
The hops in beer are loaded with vitamin B6, and a Dutch study showed that levels of the nutrient in blood plasma were higher in regular beer drinkers.
Vitamin B6 is also said to help with a number of health issues, including anemia and depression.
6. It'll Help You Bond With Your Besties
Last but certainly not least, a chilled lager at the local pub is a bonding ritual as old as time itself, no?
Now, it's worth mentioning, that there have also been studies showing that beer inhibits muscle recovery after a workout, and it's also dehydrating. Overall, it can't be said enough to drink with caution, recognize how alcohol actually feels in your body, and pay attention to how it affects your mood and behaviors.
As for that dehydration? Maybe add a glass of water or two when you're enjoying your post-pilates brew.