This may be the best news I've ever heard.
Maybe Bikes & Booze Do Mix
If you enjoy a post-ride beer you may be increasing the heart-healthy benefits of cycling.
A study in Denmark, biking capital of the world, has found that drinking alcohol in moderation seems to have benefits similar to exercise. This research, reported in Time's Feb. 4 issue, is significant in that it was conducted on 12,000 people over a 20-year period.
It was found that exercise and drinking alcohol each had an independent beneficial effect on the heart. Mainly, an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) and the removal of fatty deposits created by bad cholesterol (LDL) in blood vessel walls.
The study also determined that drinking and exercise combine to have a greater health benefit than either alone. The Danish researchers defined four categories and found that . . .
people who never drink and don't exercise had the highest risk of heart disease.
people who never drink but do exercise had a 30% lower risk.
people who drink moderately but never exercise had a 30% lower risk.
people who drink moderately and exercise had a 50% lower risk.
Now, before you swap your Endurox for a 6-pack of Pabst, here are the caveats:
A research team spokesman, Dr. Morten Gronbaek of Denmark's National Institute of Public Health, says the benefits of alcohol don't kick in until you're at the age -- 45 to 50 -- where heart disease becomes an appreciable risk.
"There's absolutely no proof of a preventative and protective effect before age 45," Gronbaek told Time. Further, alcohol consumption is related to an increase in breast cancer among women, and anyone who has a family history of alcoholism should steer clear no matter what their age.
The study imposed a limit of one drink a day for women and two for men. It did not distinguish among beer, wine and liquor. It calls for common sense in determining a "moderate" amount: a 12-oz. beer and a double martini are far different even though they fit in the same size glass.