Good news for runners who want to celebrate before their big race: new research reveals that having a few drinks the night before could actually enhance athletic performance.
However, the finding only applies to women.
A study sponsored by magazine Runner's World found that women could actually run further after a night of moderate drinking.
Researchers tested the endurance of runners the morning after a drinking session by experimenting on five male and five female runners between the ages of 29 and 43. All participants had on average run around 35 miles a week and were judged to be moderate drinkers who drank less than the official recommended weekly allowance.
Researchers found that females, on average, ran 22 percent longer the morning after drinking beer.
Unfortunately, researchers found that alcohol has the opposite effect on men. The study showed that men actually did worse and ran on average 21 percent shorter distances the day after drinking up to four pints of beer.
"The women did better after beer, but men cancelled it out by doing worse," lead researcher Dr. Gig Leadbetter, of the Colorado Mesa University's Human Research Lab told the magazine.
Leadbetter noted that more studies would need to be carried out to understand the result, but added that women "use and metabolize fuel sources differently to men".
"If we find the same in later studies it would really be exciting," he said.
The latest study is certainly not the first to tout the benefits of alcohol increasing stamina in athletes.
In fact, more than a century ago, Olympian Thomas Hicks famously won the 1904 Olympic marathon with the help of brandy shots his coach gave to him in regular intervals during the race.
In the 1970s, many coaches of long distance runners had reportedly encouraged their athletes to drink the night before a race because it was believed that alcohol increased stamina and energy levels.
And more recently in 2000, marathon runner Antonio Pinto, who ran three London Marathons with a personal best time of 2:06:36, swore that drinking red wine the night before a race "aided his performance," according to the Daily Mail.
In 2009, researchers from the University of Miami studied more than 230,000 men and women and found that the more people exercise the more they drink, and that the most active women drank the highest amounts every month.
The study also showed that both male and female drinkers of all age groups were 10 percent more likely to engage in vigorous exercise like running and heavy drinkers exercised 10 minutes more each week than moderate drinkers and 20 minutes more than people who did not drink.
Published by Medicaldaily.com