Like every other wine-drinking mom on the planet, I think I jumped for joy when I saw the headline of this article pop up on my newsfeed: “Drinking Wine Is as Good as Going to the Gym.”
Seriously, I spend half my day trying to figure out how I’m going to make it to the gym or squeeze in a workout in between writing and taking care of my toddler, and you’re telling me I could just drink a glass of wine instead? Oh, yeah, twist my arm. Problem solved; stress alleviated. Make it wine with a group of girlfriends for a mom’s night out, and I can kill two birds with one stone: mental health and physical health.
Like so many of us, I love sitting down to a glass of wine in the evening. It’s relaxing and a nice way to chill out and unwind. (And maybe by “evening” I mean “immediately when the clock strikes 5,” and maybe by “relax” I mean “keep my head screwed on while the toddler works on destroying every last bit of patience I have.” I leave the interpretation up to you.) Regardless of how you see it, drinking is all fine and dandy but it’s not exactly the same as a good sweat session. Sure, enough wine could make you feel pretty good, but it’s going to make you feel like crap the next morning. I’d rather work my butt off for a half hour and ride the endorphin high that follows. The only pain I’ll feel in the morning is my aching muscles, proof that I worked hard and am getting stronger.
So sure, wine (thanks to a compound called resveratrol) can have health benefits that mirror that of a workout: decreased inflammation, lower blood pressure, and help to fight cellular damage. But unfortunately, there’s no amount of wine that’s going to build your endurance or your strength, help you run a half marathon, or give you the energy to keep up with your kids while you’re encouraging them to get up and moving. And let’s be clear, the benefits only come with red wine and only with one glass – not an entire bottle. (Also, a side note: a recent study indicated that the same supposed exercise-replacing compound resveratrol may be particularly harmful to fetuses.)
You might as well figure out how to fit that workout into your day so you can reap the benefits that go beyond the glass — the kind your kids can see and you can truly feel. The kind that models good behavior and not potentially not-so-good behaviors. I’d rather teach my son to deal with his health and emotions through a good workout than turning to alcohol. Because while it’s all fun and games, there could be a downside. Like all things that sound too-good-to-be-true, replacing your workout with a glass of wine could lead down a slippery slope. That being said, you could probably get the best of both worlds by going to the gym and then having a glass of wine. Another study showed that we tend to drink more on days we work out – I say that’s a win-win, right?
Both these studies are really interesting. One let’s us know that it’s not the end of the world if we don’t make it to the gym. It allows us to cut ourselves a little slack (which moms are notoriously bad at) and look for the positive in different places. It also let’s us know that not all drinking is bad. The other shows that you don’t have to pick one thing over the other; they can both fit in your life. Again, a parenting lesson learned from the most surprising of things – it’s all about balance.More On