The influence of physical activity on alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers participating in an alcohol treatment intervention


Researchers have hypothesized that physical activity may be beneficial for individuals attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption, although few studies have actually tested this relationship. The purpose of the present study was to describe the physical activity of 620 male veterans enrolled in a treatment intervention study for heavy drinkers, and to determine whether greater involvement in physical activity was associated with greater reductions in alcohol consumption. Participants endorsed moderate physical activity at the baseline visit (median = 1.65 kcal/kg/day expended from physical activity), although physical activity declined during over time, p = .011. The most frequently endorsed activities included walking, gardening/yardwork, calisthenics, biking, swimming, weight lifting, golfing, and dancing. Regression analyses revealed no significant relationships between energy expenditure from physical activity and reductions in alcohol consumption at the six- and 12-month visits. Findings suggest that engaging in physical activity does not enhance treatment outcomes within interventions that do not specifically aim to increase physical activity. However, commonly endorsed activities may be easily incorporated into interventions in which physical activity is a desired component. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

Addictive Behaviors