Four Reasons Why Alcohol Is Making You Feel And Look Middle-aged

Life is like a two-week vacation: after 40 you’re in the second week, and you know what that feels like.

That road through those promising green fields stretching all the way to the horizon now has warning signs on it. The car is no longer new and it needs more care and attention.

Your body is like that car. You might have done okay for yourself and be happy enough with your life so far, but if you’re living a typical middle-aged lifestyle, that makes things tougher for the body than it needs to be.

This website is full of sound advice, such as plenty of information on alcohol consumption. Which is why I decided to add my own contribution.

I’m not here to lecture you on your bad habits, but I am going to pass on some advice which I learned the hard way.

I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve been down to the bottom of the barrel and I’ve made it back to the top. Today I am a successful businessman and dedicated to giving my body the sort of TLC it didn’t get when I was drinking (and addicted to drugs, but that’s another thread of the same story).

My descent into the pit started early. I had my first drink at the age of nine and was a mess within a couple of years and in prison by my early 20s.

It doesn’t happen to everyone that way, thank goodness. But alcohol has a way of creeping up on us and it is possible that you’re on the slippery slope without realizing it. You might want to see how you measure up against this method of assessment.

Even if you are not heading for trouble, regular drinking doesn’t do the body any favors, particularly if you’re over forty and trying to keep in shape. And it’s for these four reasons.

1. Dehydration

When you find yourself urinating more if you’re drinking alcohol than if you’re not, it’s not just the wine or beer that’s coming out. Your kidneys produce urine to get rid of the toxins, so that’s precious water abandoning its normal duties to escort this stuff out. And that’s why we feel thirsty after a night of too much alcohol. It’s one of the classic symptoms of a hangover.

2. Alcohol Impairs Muscle Recovery

There you are, sweating away at the gym or on the tennis court (and that’s an extra demand on your hydration, of course) and the science of muscle-building is that exercise causes tiny cracks in muscle, which the body repairs and makes better than ever.

But alcohol makes this process less effective, so you can be laboring for nothing. As you get older the whole machine is becoming less efficient anyway, which is why you have to work harder to stay Adonis-like, and if you are imposing another barrier to muscle development, then you’ve only got yourself to blame.

That’s why in the modern era you don’t find professional sports teams unwinding with a few margaritas or a six-pack because it works against developing their bodily six-pack.

3. You Put On Weight

Again, this is something that happens naturally as you get older, so the last thing you need to do is give it the assistance of empty calories. When you’re eating carbohydrate-rich foods to give you energy (and you will find those professional sportsmen tucking into pasta because it’s the best for that) you are also getting nourishment in the form of vitamins and minerals.

But alcohol doesn’t have that benefit. You’re getting all the sugar and none of the goodness.  So it’s another simply dumb thing to do.

4. Sleep quality deteriorates.

It’s a common misconception that a few drinks help you to sleep. Many alcoholics are afraid that giving it up will result in a lot of tossing and turning into no real sleep.  In fact, the opposite is true. After the initial crisis, with no alcohol sloshing around and needing to be processed, the body can concentrate on giving you some proper shut-eye.

A friend of my parents once confided that when she couldn’t get to sleep she would go downstairs and have a tumbler of sweet white wine from the fridge, and that would do the trick. She didn’t end up an alcoholic but she was an unhealthy woman who spent half her life laid up, sleeping or not, and had bags under her eyes like she hadn’t slept at all, ever.

I much prefer the encouraging words given to me in my time of trouble by a friend who had successfully packed it in. “I wake up every morning feeling great,” he declared, and now that I’m sober I can vouch for that.

As I said, I’m not here to lecture you, and if you want to have a couple of drinks now and then, good luck to you. All I would say is to keep an eye on your consumption, and if you’re in a phase of intense activity to try to reverse the ravages of time, you can help yourself a huge amount simply by cutting out the booze altogether.

I play a lot of basketball these days, which I really enjoy and, being tall and sturdy, I’m naturally suited to. I’m nowhere near professional standard, but if you love a sport you want to be as good as possible within your own parameters.

That’s not the reason I abstain from alcohol, but the fact that I have to abstain means I get the full benefit of any training I do. So I guess that’s a blessing in disguise.  If you have any tips on making the most of your exercise program, by all means, let me know by commenting here.

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