Happy hour beckons. That leftover Valentine’s Day bottle of wine is just begging for you to Netflix and chill with it. Brunch with college pals and alllll the Bloody Mary accoutrements seduces. And while booze can be fun, we all know that slinging back one too many at your favorite bar isn’t exactly a boon for your health. File this under “terrifying stat”: The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says excessive alcohol use accounts for nearly 90,000 deaths each year in America, shortening their lives by an average of 30 years.


But here’s an encouraging newsflash: According to new research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine, published in peer-reviewed journal, Biomolecules, increased aerobic activity, like jogging, may shield the liver from alcohol-related inflammation and injury. The study examined rats called “runner rats,” which are specifically bred for high activity. One group of rats was exposed to chronic alcohol use for six weeks, while a second group of “sober” rats was examined for the same period. Interestingly, scientists discovered that the increased metabolism among runner rats exposed to chronic alcohol use shielded their liver against fatty deposits and inflammation. Simply put, these higher levels of physical activity seemed to protect the rats from the havoc alcohol can wreak on metabolism, which can eventually lead to irreversible liver damage.


Another of this study’s interesting findings determined that the runner rats (as compared to the “sober” fellas) did not reveal a visible increase in free fatty acids, triglycerides, insulin or glucose in the blood (all markers of health conditions), which indicates that physical activity like jogging may produce a protective halo over more than just heavy drinkers’ livers.

Certainly, further research needs to be done (Namely: This study was done on animals and not on people) and a better understanding reached of how aerobic exercise prevents oxidative stress from chronic alcohol use. But the results seem promising, and could even one day help shape the course of treatment for chronic alcohol use.

In the meantime, we’re gonna go lace up our sneaks for a jog (or bike ride or swim!), and earn that second margarita at happy hour tonight.

What do you think of these findings? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)