Binge drinking and exercise don't exactly seem like they'd go hand-in-hand—but according to two recent studies, they might. In one, rats that exercised on a wheel for three weeks drank more alcohol once the wheel was removed than rats who had never been given access to a wheel. And a survey of adults found that "drinking is associated with a 10.1 percentage point increase in the probability of exercising vigorously." The study's authors also noted that heavy drinkers exercise an extra 20 minutes per week more than abstainers, the New York Times reports.
Why? It could be that drinkers enjoy a “sensation-taking lifestyle,” including alcohol and vigorous exercise. Perhaps they’re playing group sports, then drinking afterward. Or maybe, researchers speculate, they’re simply trying to make up for all those liquid calories through exercise. And even though indulging in heavy drinking is not recommended, there is an upside to this connection: Another study shows that exercise can lower the number of brain cells lost to drinking … though, on the flip side, drinking also tends to lower the number of brain cells gained by exercising.