People in Wales who exercise regularly are more likely to drink above the recommended alcohol allowance than those who do no sport, a survey has found. The National Survey for Wales found 58% of people who exercise three times or more a week drink within the limit. That is compared to 77% of people who did no exercise. Dr Britt Hallingberg, of Cardiff University, said it could be down to the social aspect of sport. “The relationships between sport and alcohol use among older adults might be there for reasons that are different from young people, due to personality and sensation seeking,” she told BBC’s Good Morning Wales programme. “Maybe young people who participate in sport are the same people who just go on to drink alcohol anyway.” Dr Hallingberg, who specializes in looking at the relationship between sport and alcohol, added: “Sport helps create social networks, so young people make friends through sports, and then they just happen to go out and engage in alcohol use.”  Dr Carwyn Jones, professor of sport ethics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, said it did not help that sporting successes were often celebrated with a binge drinking session.  “It’s a form of social capital in sport to be able to hold your drink,” he said. “So, although elite athletes are more fit, it’s still a problem in elite sport. We’ve seen problems with Wayne Rooney, or the All Blacks where, when they’re allowed to go out, they binge drink. “Sport can do its part by changing this perception that alcohol is acceptable, normal and aspirational.” Former Wales footballer Christian Roberts, who has struggled with alcohol addiction for most of his life, said the culture within sport when he was playing did not help.  He said: “When I was playing [football] there was a culture – the cases of beer were the most important thing to put on the team bus during away games. “I was one of those who carried the cases of beer. “However, as generations have changed sport has changed. It’s not alcohol in sport, it’s alcohol in society. That’s the challenge.

 

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