You know the feeling – pounding head, dry mouth, queasy stomach, achy tired body. You started out with the best of intentions-just a few drinks with friends at a holiday gathering. Without too much coaxing you got caught up in the merriment, had a few too many, and now you’re nursing a hangover! Not to worry! Most of the time the effects are only temporary, but too much holiday imbibing can be hazardous to those health and fitness goals you set for 2022. Although small amounts of alcohol have been shown to give a short-term boost in free testosterone levels and increase glycogen uptake, these benefits are short lived.

While a few holiday cocktails may reduce stress and promote glad tidings among friends, making this a nightly ritual is strictly taboo for serious fitness enthusiasts. Alcohol is a toxin and a host of physical abnormalities can arise as a result of “getting sloshed.” These abnormalities can reduce your strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aerobic strength, ability to metabolize fat, and muscle growth. In addition, a nasty hangover can make you lose precious workouts and other fun activities of the season.

Besides wreaking havoc with the hard work, you’ve done in the gym, alcohol can also affect your nervous system and brain. In small doses, alcohol produces a relaxing effect, reduces tension, lowers inhibitions, but it also slows reflexes, impairs concentration, and reduces co-ordination. In larger does, it slurs speech, causes drowsiness, and alters emotions.

In very high dosages alcohol can induce vomiting, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness and even a coma. Death from alcohol poisoning, results from respiratory failure, in effect because of alcohol’s depressive effect on the respiratory center. Fortunately, you either puke your guts out or pass out before you kill yourself.

Alcohol’s effects on the heart and circulatory systems are numerous. Overdrinking will make you throw in the towel after just a few minutes of cardio because your endurance will be zero. When consuming alcoholic beverages your heat loss increases, because alcohol dilates the blood vessels. This heat loss can cause your muscles to get cold and, as a result, become slower and weaker during contractions when you are lifting weights.

In addition, alcohol can cause several gastric, digestive, and nutritional irregularities. This drug causes a release of insulin that will in turn increase the metabolism of glycogen, thereby causing you to store fat more readily and abundantly. Since alcohol consumption can interfere with the absorption of many nutrients, it is possible to become anemic and deficient in the B vitamins. Your B’s are responsible for a healthy metabolism and energy supply.

But wait, the buzz on booze isn’t all a downer! Recent research indicates that red wine may have cholesterol fighting ingredients. In addition to resveratrol, the antioxidant known to help reduce cholesterol levels, red wine also contains saponins that are believed to bind bad cholesterol (LDL), preventing its buildup and accumulation. Best sources of these good chemicals include all red wines.

I’m not trying to put a damper on everyone’s fun! I’m just trying to make you aware that when you raise a glass of the bubbly, do so responsibly! Here’s to a joyous holiday season and an incredible 2022!

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