Why Is This Important?
Because, let’s face it, exercising sometimes sucks. But drinking, that never sucks.
Long Story Short
New research now agrees with your quitter’s rationale: A glass of red wine reportedly ‘mimics’ the same physical benefits as hitting the cross-trainer for an hour. And they say life is awful.
Hands up who’s never ditched their workout to go and get explosively drunk at the nearest bar? Few hands there. Hands up who’s lying? Same few hands. Right. It happens. Sometimes the day has not been conducive to a muscular midday or after hours gym sesssion, and all you want to do is drink ‘til you can’t feel feelings anymore. Understandable, but the concern does remain: My physique and wellbeing must be suffering for this. I am burning the temple that is my body.
Being people who like to get drunk too, researchers at Canada’s University of Alberta harbored the same misgivings. Instead of limply theorizing about what must surely be self-evident, they decided to investigate the matter (with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, humorously). Their findings, published in the Journal of Physiology, were as surprising as they were awesome: One glass of red wine will improve the same level of physical performance, heart function and muscle strength as one hour sweating it out in the gym.
Even on paper signed, stamped and delivered by science, this feels unlikely. What’s the go? It all comes down to resveratrol, a compound found specifically in red wine — that’s the only hooch that counts in this scenario. If you don’t like red, you’re out of luck. The research team put one set of rats on a 12-week training regimen and spooned them said compound throughout. They put another set of rats on the same regimen, but without any red wine goodness. After 12 weeks, the wino rats showed a 21% increase in ‘muscle performance.’
“We were excited when we saw that resveratrol showed results similar to what you would see from extensive endurance exercise training,” said lead researcher, Jason Dyck. “I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do. We immediately saw the potential for this and thought that we identified 'improved exercise performance in a pill’.”
He’s not wrong about that: Resveratrol in its ‘pure’ form is already on the market in light of its science-backed benefits in much the same way as coconut oil’s MCT has been packaged in recent years. However, to buy it in its de-wined form would also be to forego the other proven benefits of red wine, namely its antioxidants, and the fact that it helps reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and assists in preventing blot clots. Oh, and then there’s the way it promotes longevity, lowers the risk of cataracts and colon cancer, reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, and slows down the rate at which your brain stops being brainy. Best thing? Even the dirt-cheap red you chuck a tenner at before visiting the in-laws is good for it.
In conclusion: Call off the search for the fountain of youth, for thou hath been quaffing its waters in the Saturday night gutters of distressing modern life for some time now.
Own The Conversation
Ask The Big Question: How much red is too much red?
Disrupt Your Feed: Let’s double the benefits and hit the gym while completely tanked on red wine. Who's with me?
Drop This Fact: Not a fan of Shiraz? Other foods that contain resveratrol include blueberries, peanut butter, red grapes (errr… duh?), and dark chocolate.
Expand Your Expertise
- Resveratrol may be natural exercise performance enhancer [Science Daily]
- Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats [The Journal of Physiology]
- A glass of red wine is the equivalent to an hour at the gym, says new study [My Daily]