Study shows risk of death among heavy drinkers can be reduced by regular exercise.
Studies have shown that people who drink alcohol to excess are at a greater risk of dying from some cause, but new research has looked directly at the link between alcohol consumption and a high level of physical activity, and the findings are suggesting that regular exercise reduces that risk.
An article on webmd.com reports that an analysis of data from eight different British surveys was undertaken by researchers from the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and the researchers say this analysis is the first of its kind.
Data from an earlier study suggested that heavy drinking of alcohol would increase the risk of death by between 31 and 54 percent, and a recent analysis found a strong link between alcohol and several types of cancer.
Meanwhile, multiple studies have shown that a high level of physical activity is linked to a reduction in the risk of developing breast and colon cancers, and also providing other health benefits.
With those facts in mind, the research team analyzed data from the Health Survey for England, and the Scottish Health Survey, which contained information about alcohol consumption and physical activity. Data from 36,370 individuals, aged 40 and older, were examined in this new study.
The team identified 4,845 people who admitted to drinking more than the recommended limits of alcohol each week, which are 14 drinks for women and 21 for men. Those individuals who said they had had an alcoholic beverage in the past week averaged six drinks per week
With regard to exercise, 27.5% of the respondents said they engaged in no physical activity, while 39% said they achieved the recommended amount of 150 of more minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week. An additional 23% said they averaged more than the recommended amounts of exercise.
The study’s findings show that the risk of death from all causes was weaker among those who met the weekly guidelines for exercise, but surprisingly, the risk of dying from cancer was almost erased among those regular exercisers.
Even occasional drinking appeared to have a benefit to those who participated in an exercise regimen, in reducing deaths from all causes and particularly heart disease.
The researchers wrote in an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the findings strengthened the belief that exercise can play a significant role in a person’s health, even if they sometimes engage in unhealthy choices.