Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Red Wine Workout

Drinking a glass of red wine or slogging it out at the gym for an hour-long workout, which would you rather indulge in?

While running on the treadmill at the gym this afternoon a recent study was under debate on a cable news channel—one glass of red wine is equivalent to an hour at the gym. This intrigued me, being a red wine drinker and a runner. I read the ticker at the bottom of the television to try to follow the discussion.

At first glance it sounded like this study meant that if you drank one glass of red wine you would have to hit the gym for an hour to work off those calories and offset any damage to your liver. But no, the study actually found that drinking one glass of red wine was the same as spending an hour working out at the gym. The health benefits of that glass of red were as healthy for you as an hour-long workout.

Great! I like red wine and we all have heard of the health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation. Given that I am much more wiped out after an hour of running, core building exercises, and weight training than I am after enjoying a glass of red wine, I was a bit skeptical.

A quick Google search found the 2012 study by Canada's University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Surprisingly the study (in rats of course and not humans) found that "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." This is all thanks to a natural compound called resveratrol that is found in red wine. Here's the catch, this only works with red wine, not white wine or beer. And one glass of red wine, not three. And I do kind of doubt that it is a "replacement" for your typical session at the gym.

But keep red wine on your short list of health enhancers along with dark chocolate, blueberries, and leafy greens. I'll be enjoying my one glass of red wine while watching the Super Bowl tonight. However I doubt that one glass of vino will offset all of the delicious food that goes along with the traditional Super Bowl indulgence.

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