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Alcohol Consumption Higher on Gym Days

Update Date: Sep 24, 2014 12:36 AM EDT

People consume more alcohol on days they exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers at Northwestern University found that the average person engages in more physical activity Thursdays and Sundays. However, the average person also drinks significantly more alcohol on these days.

"Monday through Wednesday people batten down the hatches and they cut back on alcohol consumption," lead researcher David E. Conroy, professor of preventive medicine and deputy director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a news release.

"But once that 'social weekend' kicks off on Thursdays, physical activity increases and so does alcohol consumption."

"Insufficient physical activity and alcohol use are both linked to many health problems, and excessive alcohol use has many indirect costs as well," Conroy said. "We need to figure out how to use physical activity effectively and safely without having the adverse effects of drinking more alcohol."

The latest study involved 150 participants between the ages of 18 and 89 who were asked to record their daily physical activity and alcohol consumption for 21 days at three different times throughout one year.

"In this study, people only have to remember one day of activity or consumption at time, so they are less vulnerable to memory problems or other biases that come in to play when asked to report the past 30 days of behavior," Conroy said. "We think this is a really good method for getting around some of those self-report measurement problems."

"We zoomed in the microscope and got a very up-close and personal look at these behaviors on a day-to-day basis and see it's not people who exercise more drink more -- it's that on days when people are more active they tend to drink more than on days they are less active," Conroy said. "This finding was uniform across study participants of all levels of physical activity and ages."

The findings are published in the journal Health Psychology.

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