Alcohol and….rugby

This is the first in a regular series of all things alcohol related… it seems appropriate to start with sport.

What a beautiful month for South Africa as the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup and united the whole nation in joy!

The team was an inspiring example of transformation and was led by a black Captain for the first time.  Young black children all over SA have a new hero.

Captain Siya Kolisi came from humble beginnings.  Born to a teenage mother who died when he was just 15 Siya’s sporting talents won him a scholarship to a school where he could develop his rugby talents – and the rest is history – Captain of Rugby World Champions at the tender age of 28.

He is well aware of the symbolism of their win and he asked South Africans to follow the Springboks example – to unite as a country, just as they did as a team.

“Take yourself out of your comfort zone and work towards a better South Africa,”

“Look at our team!” Kolisi told a crowd of about 10,000 people on Cape Town’s Grand Parade. “They are from different races and different backgrounds, but we came together for South Africa.

“And we are saying to you today, just take a look around you, there are so many different people from different races and backgrounds. But look how special this is. It’s time for us South Africans to stop fighting and arguing. Let’s put South Africa first, so we can move forward as a country. Thank you, we appreciate you.”

Nelson Mandela was well aware of the potential of rugby to unite South Africa and would have been so proud!

So what does rugby have to do with alcohol?

Well apparently Siya was quite the party animal in his youth but three years ago he gave up drinking which will have contributed to his amazing performance.

Alcohol is detrimental to sports performance for two reasons:-

Firstly, because alcohol is a diuretic, drinking too much can lead to dehydration.

“Dehydration leads to reduced performance,” says Professor Greg Whyte, an expert in sports performance. “Hydration also helps control your body temperature so you’re more likely to overheat if you’ve been drinking alcohol.”

Secondly, alcohol interferes with the way your body makes energy. When you’re metabolising, or breaking down alcohol, the liver can’t produce as much glucose, which means you have low levels of blood sugar. Exercise requires high levels of sugar to give you energy.

We have had plenty of runners at our Workshops – heavy drinkers who would run with a hangover and celebrate with a few beers after the run.  Without exception they have noticed a huge improvement in their performance.

Janet x

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