Why do people feel heavier to carry when drunk? © Getty Images

Why do people feel heavier to carry when drunk?

No matter the number of cheesy chips or sheer volume of alcohol consumed, people aren't actually heavier when they're drunk. So, why do they feel it?

Asked by: Caroline Masih, Slough


Because their movements hinder rather than help. A perfectly stiff body (whether alive or dead) is easier to carry for the same weight because you can assess where to hold it and predict how it will behave. A completely rigid and straight body can be quite easy for two people to carry and feel comparatively light. Drunks, by contrast, sag in the middle if you try to hold each end, slither through your grip, and provide nothing firm to hold on to. They may even struggle and try not to be lifted and so feel very heavy indeed. A fully conscious and cooperative person can help make lifting easier by taking up a good position, giving you a crooked arm or a straight leg to grip, or can even hold on to you.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.