Regular and excessive alcohol consumption can have a variety of negative effects on sporting performance and can seriously undermine the hard-earned results from your squash training programme.
Alcohol (ethanol) is a neural depressant and toxin. It is something that increases the loss of fluid and salt from the body and causes dehydration. Drinking a little delivers short-term euphoria and a sense of relaxation. Alcohol’s depressive properties affect the inhibitory part of the brain – which controls our careful and cautious side. For some people this means experiencing an upswing in fun but for others it can lead to anger, violence and risk-taking behaviours. Slurred speech, loss of physical control and impaired vision are all signs that alcohol has suppressed your neural pathways and is the time when you should be drinking water and going to bed.
Playing a game of squash with a hangover might make you feel virtuous but it is not a good idea. Modest dehydration compromises performance and mental judgement and impairs our ability to compete. The circulating levels of the toxin acetaldehyde in our bloodstream from the night before also makes it difficult for our liver to control blood sugar levels.
Having a few drinks post-match is the same. The repair and re-synthesis process our bodies require after being active takes several hours to days. Alcohol’s dehydrating effects and ability to impair liver function compromises our ability to replenish our energy stores. It also directly interferes with the protein synthesis pathways in muscle, reducing our ability to repair and rebuild.
So if you want to play at your best, having a few drinks is not the way to achieve it. It just involves more sweat and determination.
For more information about alcohol in the squash club environment click here