Gym Days Are Drunk Days

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Fact: Exercise makes beer taste better. And no doubt because of this, on the days people exercise, they tend to drink more, too, finds a new paper published in Health Psychology.  

Researchers from Northwestern University tasked 150 people, who ranged in age from 18 to 89, with using a smartphone to keep a daily diary tracking when they drank and when they exercised. Over the course of a year, they kept these diaries for three 21-day stretches. Consistently, and across all ages and levels of physical fitness, people ramped up their physical activity on the weekends, from Thursday to Sunday. And during those days, they drank more, too. Of course, people just tend to drink more on the weekend, anyway, but the researchers controlled for that, said lead study author David E. Conroy, a preventive medicine professor at Northwestern, in an email to Science of Us. “We adjusted for the day of week, so any associations between physical activity and alcohol consumption could not be attributed to the fact that it was, for example, a Saturday,” he said.

Previous research has suggested that people who are more physically active overall also tend to drink more, but that’s not exactly what the researchers found here. “It’s not people who exercise more drink more — it’s on days when people are more active they tend to drink more than on days they are less active,” Conroy said in the press release.

And while this study didn’t dig into the reasons why people drink more on days they’ve exercised, there are a few obvious reasons. Maybe running a few extra miles makes the calories from a few extra beers feel justifiable, or maybe you’re capping off an evening of playing soccer with friends at the bar down the street. Or, back to my initial theory: Exercise just makes the beer taste better.