One of the latest running trends is to end a run with a cold one. As breweries are popping up across the nation, many are hosting weekly beer runs. Running and beer are a unique combination that many people wouldn’t expect, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Here are just a few reasons why a beer or two is a good idea post-run.
What you might not realize is that beer is actually hydrating. They are approximately 90 percent water, and you’ll also benefit from a small amount of protein and a substance in hops that keeps muscles from deteriorating. The bitter acids in hops are powerful inflammation fighters and can treat respiratory infections. Beer also contains fiber, so it’s a natural laxative and will make you feel full, therefore preventing any post-run overeating. While some might worry that beer is a major source of carbs, in reality only a third of beer’s calories are from carbohydrates.
Beer has also been shown to aid in digestion by triggering the release of gastric acid from stomach cells. The more bitter acids in a beer, the greater the release. Gastric acid is key for both digesting food in the stomach and controlling the growth of dangerous gut bacteria.
Beer can fight the bacteria in your mouth as well as prevent biofilm from forming. In an experiment, the extract of beer tested stopped the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease and tooth decay.
Even more surprising, beer could help keep bones strong. Some researchers have found a positive link between beer consumption and hip-bone density. However, they also found that heavy beer-drinking can cause bone loss, so drink moderately to be on the safe side. Moderate is considered one beer for women and two beers for men.
Beer also contains an ethanol compound that helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Beer and vitamins? Yes, beer is a source of multiple B vitamins; typically, the more malt, the more potent the B vitamin level.
One study has shown that compounds in beer assist recovery and illness prevention in athletes. Those in the experiment who drank beer experienced a greater support for the immune system, fewer colds, and shorter, milder infections than those who didn’t.
And of course there are the mental and emotional effects of beer. If we were talking beyond moderation, this might be a different conversation. However, if you stick with one or two beers post-run, when you’re already feeling the bliss of endorphins, you’ll feel a little extra pep. After a long day at work, a 1, 3, or 5-mile run (the most common beer run options) with a beer, is the perfect combination for a little stress relief and socialization. Go alone or with a few friends. Either way, you’ll have a positive experience and leave knowing that you’re being health-conscious.
To find the beer runs nearest you, just run an online search. In addition to weekly runs at breweries, there are also individual races with post-race beer tastings.