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Exercise and Alcohol
Drinking Less

Exercise and Alcohol: Finding a Healthy Balance Through Regular Physical Activity

June 27, 2024
7 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 27, 2024
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 27, 2024
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 27, 2024
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Reframe Content Team
June 27, 2024
7 min read

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can often be challenging, especially when it comes to balancing the consumption of alcohol. While moderate alcohol intake is generally considered acceptable, excessive drinking can lead to a myriad of health issues and dependency. Interestingly, integrating regular physical activity into your daily routine can be a powerful strategy in reducing the urge to drink excessively. This article explores how exercise can help individuals manage their alcohol intake and foster healthier drinking habits.

The Link Between Physical Activity and Alcohol Consumption

Exercise and Alcohol

Physical activity is widely recognized for its extensive health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mental health, and better weight management. However, its role in moderating alcohol consumption is often overlooked. Engaging in regular exercise can significantly alter the way our bodies and minds perceive and crave alcohol.

Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is a natural mood booster. It stimulates the release of endorphins, often referred to as the body’s feel-good hormones. These biochemical changes in the brain can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression—all of which are common triggers for excessive drinking. By providing a natural and healthy coping mechanism for stress and emotional turmoil, physical activity can lessen the reliance on alcohol as a form of self-medication.

Physical Benefits That Discourage Excessive Drinking

Regular physical activity also instills a greater awareness of one’s body and health. Individuals who exercise frequently are more likely to make health-conscious decisions, including moderating their alcohol intake. The physical discomfort that often accompanies a hangover, such as headaches and nausea, can be deterrent enough for those committed to maintaining their fitness goals. Furthermore, alcohol can impair muscle recovery and athletic performance, providing a strong incentive for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to avoid excessive drinking.

Structured Routines and Social Support

Adopting an exercise routine often involves structured schedules and sometimes, participation in group activities. This organization and social interaction can significantly reduce feelings of isolation or boredom, which are potential triggers for reaching for a drink. Group exercises, whether it’s a local running club, a yoga class, or a cycling group, provide social support that can aid individuals in their journey towards healthier drinking habits.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Exercise to Reduce Alcohol Cravings

Start Small

If you’re new to exercising, start with small, manageable goals. Even a short walk, a 10-minute yoga session, or light stretching can be a good start. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your fitness improves.

Find Activities You Enjoy

The key to consistency in exercise is enjoyment. Try different activities to find what you enjoy most, be it dancing, swimming, hiking, or team sports. Enjoyable activities are easier to stick to and can effectively distract from the urge to drink.

Set Regular Schedules

Consistency is crucial. Set specific days and times for your workouts and treat them as unbreakable appointments. This regularity not only builds a healthy routine but also fills the gaps in your day that might otherwise lead you to consider drinking.

Use Technology

Leverage technology to stay on track. Fitness apps can help monitor your progress, set reminders, and even connect you with online communities who share similar goals of reducing alcohol consumption through exercise.

Seek Professional Guidance

If balancing exercise with alcohol reduction is challenging, consider seeking the advice of fitness and health professionals. Personal trainers and therapists can provide personalized strategies and support to help you achieve your goals.


Regular physical activity offers a robust solution to individuals looking to reduce their alcohol intake and develop healthier drinking habits. By improving both mental and physical health, exercise provides a strong foundation for resisting the urge to drink excessively. Incorporating a routine that includes physical activity is not just about avoiding alcohol—it's about building a more vibrant, healthier life.

For those exploring the relationship between exercise and alcohol further, our blog offers additional insights, such as the impact of alcohol on athletic performance and strategies for maintaining fitness goals while managing alcohol consumption.

Moderate Your Drinking Effectively

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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