What do you do with a drunken Sailor?!

by | Oct 13, 2017

Today’s interesting match of  Friday the 13th with our U.S. Navy’s 242nd birthday gave me pause to think about the words of this old sea shanty, grog, and alcohol’s effect on sleep, performance and wellness.

What to Do? Putting a drunken sailor in your brig with the Captain’s daughter isn’t at the top of my list… Nor is shaving his or her belly with a rusty razor…early in the morning or at any time of day…

drunken sailor image

(Thanks, drunken-sailor-jibes-offend-australian-navy91619)

As a ‘ol Navy guy, I joined others to blaspheme about a teetotaler, Josephus Daniels, then Secretary of the Navy who banned ration/sale of grog or shipboard spirits under his General Order 99 in 1914.  How progressive!  We Navy “officially” went dry before Prohibition.

I’ll begin my main point with a non-groggy end in mind. That is, I’ll offer that one’s alcohol use and impact, like many other wellness questions  of balance ->  it often depends.

By that I mean alcohol can possibly be good, or really bad, or neutral.  Heck, the British Navy ruled the world on drunken sailors for  century or two.  And heck, the East German rowers dominated Olympic medal counts on pilsener, if no other ergogenics.

Speaking of rowers, I had this picture hung in my workout box,

Get together with a Guinness

Thanks, https://goo.gl/images/eCJeK6 .

I certainly endorse what Leigh Weingus shared (think cortisol, poor sleep even though you may crash on your pillow easier and accelerated aging with chronic use, and …):

Now, the bad news: Alcohol causes inflammation in the body.

If you’re working to reach a fitness goal, inflammation can slow you down a bit. And while certain alcohols are said to come with benefits—red wine has flavonoids, for example, which may help with heart health—it’s important to take inflammation into account.

“Secondary to sugar, alcohol is also a major contributor to inflammation in the body,” Brooke Scheller tells mbg. “In practice, I find that inflammation is one of the key reasons someone struggles to lose weight and reach their fitness goals…inflammation can also contribute to joint pain and muscle aches that may slow someone down at the gym.”

Long story short: Be mindful of how much and what you’re drinking, keep inflammation in mind, and don’t forget to have a good time.”

That is a loaded and mixed message – yes?  And it is oft-repeated in fitness and wellness articles.  Such as a shape.com blog by Mirel Ketchiff:

“Here’s the thing: Moderate alcohol consumption—no more than one drink a day, (df note – 2 drinks for a gent) according to the U.S.D.A. Dietary Guidelines for Americans—may have some health benefits, it’s true. But “work hard, play harder” can seriously backfire. Here, four (4) ways throwing back cocktails can throw your fitness goals off track.

  1. Cramping
    “Alcohol acts as a diuretic,”…which can trigger painful muscle cramping that does a number on your performance.
  2. Sleep Quality Suffers  A few glasses of wine before bed may help you drift off faster—but …Alcohol can prevent restorative deep REM sleep, which is needed to feel rested.” Lack of sleep can impair muscle recovery.
  3. The Scale Could Tip While there’s room in an otherwise balanced, healthy diet for a drink now and again, at the end of the day, alcohol translates into unnecessary, un-nutritious calories, says Haas. Add in the junk-food munchies you may down after a night of drinking, and you’ve got a surefire recipe for adding pounds.
  4. Your Body Is Left Hungry “When consumed excessively, alcohol can have detrimental effects on how your body uses, stores, and excretes nutrients,” says Haas. It can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients, she says, including B vitamins (which play a huge role in metabolism), vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant that helps the body recover from exercise), and vitamin C (which assists with bone growth and vision).” ====

Sooo, you be the judge. If you do what I do, I skip a day or two – when I teach at night to forego a moderate sip of an adult beverage. I’ll definitely add good ‘ol plain water to my cocktail time (with lemon – sure) to hydrate.  I’ll skip a late night cap.  I’ll be sure to down those colors – green leafy veggies, fruits. I’ll monitor my workouts on  next days to gauge possible impact on my athletic performance.

I’ll balance, and I do try to enjoy life.

Don’t forget many studies which suggest that moderate drinkers may indeed put years in their lives, or avoid tragic conditions of dementia… (drinking and dementia study).

No black or white for a drunken sailor or me about Grog …  It depends… Yet do avoid the “backfire” of this sedative.

Be Well.




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