Some athletes drink alcohol to calm precompetition jitters or to get the blood flowing to the muscles.

Research Results:

Alcohol affects each individual differently, but experts agree it hurts performance when consumed on an activity day or on the day of competition.


Alcohol has a direct effect on the nervous system. It reduces your ability to reason and make judgments; it reduces reaction time; alters coordination, balance, and visual perception; and impairs muscular reflexes. Alcohol also interferes with your body's use of nutrients, including carbohydrate, fat and protein. It may affect blood sugar levels and cause early fatigue in endurance events. Drinking alcohol can also lead to water loss. This can be a problem in hot weather because the risk for dehydration increases if you do not increase your water intake to offset the losses.

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