Alcohol Abuse may be Related to Personal Activity Levels
There is some evidence that physical activity may benefit individuals who are attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption. A study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism found an association between physical activity and a lower risk of alcohol problems. Sedentary people had a higher risk for future alcohol related problems when compared to people with high or low activity levels, who experienced similar risks.
The study conducted in Denmark used data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Four surveys were given each decade from the 1970s to the 2000s, to 18,359 people who participated in the study. The relatively large sample size, the racial/ethnic diversity of the participants, and the variation among study participants in activity level and type, was a strong point to the study. However, limitations were the exclusion of women, those with a psychiatric diagnosis, or those who were already alcohol dependent. Therefore, the study sample may not be representative of individuals from the general population who are seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. Still the findings give us some insight. Researchers concluded low or moderately high leisure-time physical activity was associated with almost half the risk of developing alcohol use disorder compared with a sedentary leisure-time physical activity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.9% of individuals in the U.S. reported heavy drinking and 15.4% reported binge drinking in 2006.
Furthermore, excessive alcohol use is associated with a variety of health and psychological problems including liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, cancer, accidental injuries, violent behavior, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence.
Being sedentary is a risk factor for developing an alcohol use disorder. Exercise within the context of a treatment intervention can offer many potential health benefits. The inclusion of more active leisure time activities in everyday life offers an easy and cost effective method to help long-term recovery efforts. Future research will confirm the positive effects of an active lifestyle of personal health.