Alcohol and Sports Performance Essay
The effects that alcohol carries out on the human body are numerous. The majority of the effects are immediate but some of the effects are long term. The main effects are seen right away with intoxication, blurred vision, slurred speech, reduced reaction time, and impaired muscle control to name a few. The long-term effects can harm the person much greater than the short-term effects. Consistent alcohol abuse can lead to several diseases that destroy the body and its functions. Athletes spend countless hours trying to maximize their performance and potential.
When alcohol effects the body severely and detrimentally on a cellular level the athlete is compromised. One of the biggest threats to the athlete is that any gains made through practice or working with weights will be cancelled if alcohol is consumed on that same day. The reason this happens is because alcohol blocks protein synthesis. When the body is unable to repair damaged muscles or contribute to the growth of those muscle cells due to lifting weights. In addition to blocking protein synthesis, alcohol also decreases the production of human growth hormone by roughly 70%.
HGH is responsible for much of the muscle and long bone growth within the body and many more functions. HGH also plays a role in promoting lipolysis. If this function is blocked, an increase in fat cells is seen and the “beer belly” begins to form. HGH also promotes gluconeogenesis, and if this function is blocked blood glucose levels will drop potentially leading to hypoglycemia. Alcohol affects the athlete on many levels, both internally and externally. The first article is a report from the Cork GAA Coaching & Development website.
The article is broken down into an informational portion and an advice portion. This article focuses on Ireland and the link of alcohol and sport within their society. The major correlation that this research found was that being involved in a sport has a positive effect on adolescents and keeping them away from alcohol but it showed that in adults it may encourage greater intake of alcohol compared with non-athletic peers. This comes from the common notion that athletes like to drink together to bond with other players, and the main consumption of alcohol is in a binge-like fashion.
The study also points out that, contrary to popular belief, alcohol is a depressant as it slows down the brain and bodily functions. Alcohol will decrease the rate and success of psychomotor skills essential for successful exercise performance. Some of these include reaction time, balance, and hand-eye coordination. The study also lists off a few short-term effects of alcohol and its effect on sport performance. They were dehydration, increase of soft tissue injury recovery, and slower decision-making.
The point that was made with soft tissue injury was that the injury needs reduced blood flow to the injured area, and alcohol increases blood flow, causing the injury to take longer to heal. Some of the long term effects that they pointed out were weight gain, diet choices, increased risk for violence, neglect of rehabilitation, and proper strategy to recover and refuel after a performance. The reason for weight gain that they saw was that the body favors alcohol over fat as an energy source.
When an athlete consumes fatty foods while under the influence, the body will directly store all grams of fat the athlete consumes leading to a unwanted weight gain over time. The article also gave a strategy for “surviving a night out with teammates. ” The first step is to plan ahead what you will be doing that night and what you will need to do the next day because of it. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods will fill the body up and slow down the rate of alcohol absorption during the night. It will also slow down the pace of alcohol consumption.
The article also suggests to pace yourself and balance alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones . And while drinking, they suggest to sip, instead of gulp, your drink and chose low alcoholic content drinks. They suggest to rehydrate with water at the end of the night and keep yourself busy during the night to prevent excessive consumption. And above all the article suggests being a designated driver so that you don’t harm your body and you are able to watch over your teammates’ safety. Austin: The following article suggests that a low dose of alcohol after athletic performance would not impact the athlete.
Basically meaning that alcohol consumption after an athletic event or after exercise would not induce any muscle damage in the athlete. It has been said that acute alcohol consumption after exercise or an athletic weakens the skeletal muscles enough to produce muscle damage which leads to injury. This study was done to see if the effect is directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed after the exercise or event. The study focused mostly on low dosages and losses in muscular performance during an eccentric work phase. The subjects for this study were ten healthy male adults.
They were to perform 300 maximal eccentric contractions of the quadriceps. While they were inducing this contraction their leg was placed on an isokenitic dynamometer to insure that the results were exact. After they performed the contractions, five of them were randomly chosen to drink an alcoholic beverage at a controlled volume. The beverage was vodka and orange juice. The remaining five were to drink a non-alcoholic beverage, also at a controlled volume. Two weeks later the subjects were to perform the same eccentric contractions on the contralateral, or opposite leg, after they consumed the second beverage.
Measurements were taken before the exercise, 36 hours after the exercise and 60 hours after the exercise. There was a significant decrease in muscular performance over time for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage drinkers. This concludes that there is no evidence showing that a low dosage of alcohol after exercise or sporting event negatively effects muscular health. This means that alcohol consumption after muscle damaging exercise has no direct relationship to damage to the skeletal muscles and therefore is not related to injury.
Casey: In the article Sport-Type Differences in Alcohol Us Among Intercollegiate Athletes showed a study that over 40% of college students reported they drank heavily over a two week period. Among this group it was said that majority of the group was intercollegiate athletes who was an unbelievable 53%-57% of that group. The college athlete averaged 7. 57 drinks per week, while the non-athlete only averaged 4. 12 drinks per week, by this it indicates when a college athlete chooses to consume alcohol, and they tend to consume more, which is severely atrocious for their body.
In the article it goes on to say that the National Collegiate Athletic Association conducted a large scale studied that revealed that 80% of the collegiate athletes that consumed alcohol were men; and of that of that percentage the top three men’s sports were swimming/diving being 84. 7%, men’s soccer was 83. 9% and baseball rounded out the top three with being 83. 4% of that total.
The article was not in agreement with this study because it categorizes the complete sport and not on an individual basis, because there could have been athletes only have one or two drinks during the span time of the research and they would be categorized into being a heavy drinker.
Next that they did not report any experience any negative consequences to alcohol consumption, which is as much or even more important than the actual consumption of the alcohol by the athlete. Alcohol can cause a short-term effect which contributes to risk behaviors and can cause a false sense of security. Drinking an abundance of alcohol can severely damage the central nervous system permanently.
Additionally, consumption of alcohol may cause liver damage; they alcohol does this but the fat first accumulates in the cells of the liver, and it enlarges it; then the patient develops alcohol-induced hepatitis which causes death of the liver cells and jaundice is apparent in the eyes and skin. With all the dangerous affects of alcohol on our body, more than 50% of the United States has consumed an alcoholic beverage within the last month of the research. In a four year span approximately 79,000 adults died due to the excessive consumption of alcohol.
So no matter what level an athlete competes in, the consumption of alcohol diminishes numerous of things that help the body recover from training and playing. With all the knowledge and background that most people know about alcohol, and how it effects the body wrong, people still do it on a daily basis and will most likely continue to drink alcohol not matter how much it impairs the body. Ghost: Drinking among college athletes is an issue that affects many college athletic teams and campuses nationwide. Studies have shown that college athletes competitiveness can be partially to blame for this.
College athletes are more likely than regular students to engage in competitive drinking such as beer pong, quarters, washers and a bunch of other games none of which I would ever participate in myself. Team leaders are not exception to this and are actually more likely to consume alcohol and suffer from more adverse consequences from their use of alcohol. College sports is about competition and competition can unfortunately lead to other areas of life that might not be of the best interest to a college athlete who is trying to excel in his or her sport of choice.
The competition factor of why a college athlete can be shown by how many athletes engage in heavy episodic drinking. One challenges the other to who can drink more alcohol and instead of who can get the best forty time (no pun), shoot the best or get the best lap time they are seeing who can hold down the most shots of Patron. If you are an athlete who is training or in season keeping yourself healthy should be a top priority and drinking can only interfere with how well you are not only able to play but workout to reach your peak.
As an athlete you need to be hydrated regularly and drinking alcohol can lead to severe dehydration preventing you from competing at your highest level and can even lead to death in severe cases. Many of the effects from alcohol can make it impossible to compete at your sport. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that directly alters your blood pressure. It is by no means a performance enhancing drug and in all actuality , can cause way more harm than good if a player just so happened to play while intoxicated.
Alcohol is detrimental to a number of things needed to succeed let alone function properly during competition. It affects balance and steadiness, reaction time, fine and complex motor skills, information processing, boisterousness, unsteadiness, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, marked unsteadiness and drowsiness. The balance part alone will make it just about impossible to play any kind of sport to begin with. Most sports require for you to run , jump and use strength. Alcohol will restrict you from doing these things to your best ability.
Most athletes train in and out of season, taking great pride in their body and what they have worked hard to be able to achieve at their respective sport however drinking can lead to very serious health problems further down the road in life that will not only negate the work that they put in when they were younger and tear down whatever they have through side effects such as chronic alteration of the brain and nerve function, weakening of the heart, heart disease, shrinkage of your testicles, impotency, cirrhosis and complete liver failure, blood clotting abnormalities, pancreatitis, vitamin deficiencies and even change your skin color.
Having good health is important for an athlete or any sport to maintain so it just doesn’t make sense that someone who put in that much time, effort and energy into athletics would sacrifice his performance for a drink of alcohol. Aside from suffering from an athletic performance stand point you are sacrificing your own health risks in the long run. As an athlete your own health is the beginning of whatever you are going to be able to accomplish in your sport so doing damage to your temple is completely counterproductive.
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