Alcohol consumption can be very damaging to our bodies if not done in moderation. The effects can be very detrimental to our health in so many ways. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism documents how drinking too much alcohol harms your body and mind, and also the long-term repercussions.
Alcohol affects the brain by disrupting communication routes, sometimes changing mood, behavior and the ability to think and focus. Heavy drinking, whether short or long term, may cause damage to the heart by weakening the muscle; the medical term is cardiomyopathy. Another type of heart disease caused by heavy drinking is an arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. Stroke and high blood pressure are also often the result of too much drinking.
Your immune system is also weakened by consuming too much alcohol, leaving it more susceptible to diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis. Even a single instance of overindulging slows your body’s defense systems for up to 24 hours.
Injuries sustained from a motor vehicle accident involving alcohol is another example of how alcohol can put physical fitness at risk. This not only applies to the individual under the influence but anyone else who has the misfortune to be involved in an alcohol-related accident. While the use of a Low Cost Interlock device and/or reliance on rideshare are ways to keep drinking from causing a catastrophe on the road, nothing beats sobriety. It may not prevent someone else from causing you harm due to drunk driving, but it keeps you from harming yourself this way or harming others.
If an alcoholic is lucky enough to avoid the dangers of drunk driving, they still face countless other risks caused by their excessive drinking. For instance, cirrhosis of the liver develops over many years of excessive drinking. Other issues with the liver caused by heavy drinking are steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and fibrosis. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can occur when too much drinking triggers the production of toxins by the pancreas. Cancer is another concern. The chance of certain cancers developing is increased by the intake of too much alcohol; the breast, liver, throat, mouth, and esophagus will be at risk.
Giving up alcohol as soon as possible minimizes the harmful effects, and gives your body more of a fighting chance to regenerate some of the damaged areas. For example, the liver can restore most of its cells when they become damaged. Incorporating physical activity into your life will benefit you during and after the recovery process. Your health and fitness are one in the same.
The decision to stop drinking will require a change of lifestyle and physical activity is very beneficial, not only to your physical health but mental as well. You may not feel up to it in the beginning, but after a few months, you will notice the difference in many areas of your life.
Some of the benefits include better circulation and sleep, more energy, weight control, and toned muscles. Physical activity will also strengthen your heart muscle, which may have been weakened throughout many years of drinking. Psychological benefits include an increase in self-confidence and ability to think clearly. Physical activity helps to control your stress level, so you won’t experience as much anxiety. Chemicals called endorphins that have a euphoric effect are released during physical activity, combatting depression and other negative states of mind. You will have a better mood and overall outlook on life.
Low self-esteem is sometimes a big issue for those that consume too much alcohol, and one of the biggest benefits of physical activity is a marked improvement in self-esteem. The endorphins that are released during rigorous activity actually reduces the perception of pain, through interactions with brain receptors. Along with looking good, you will be feeling good as well.
In the quest for health and well being, exercise is a natural alternative to other substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs. It requires discipline and you have to maintain a workout routine. It may be difficult to start, especially while going through symptoms of withdrawal and the absence of the drink(s) that you’ve made a part of your routine. But abstaining from alcohol and indulging in physical activity will definitely be worth it; one of the best decisions you will ever make.