If you ever felt guilty about starting your day with a steaming cup of Java, you definitely have cause to celebrate! A University of Kent study has found that a simple cup of coffee can actually help you stick to your fitness plans, because coffee helps your workout seem like less of an effort. As noted by researchers, one of the most frequent reasons why we give up exercise, is that we perceive it as too difficult. This is where caffeine steps in, helping it all seem easier and keeping us on the road to fitness. The question remains, can coffee consumption help us stick to our fitness routine in any other ways?
Coffee and Endurance
A University of Georgia review study found that a morning cup of coffee can boost athletic endurance. The researchers found that drinking between 3mg and 7mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight boosted endurance by 24%. In the trials, participants jogged or cycled after consuming coffee and the results were measured, compared to when no coffee was taken. The researchers concluded that caffeine from coffee was as powerful when it came to boosting endurance, as pure caffeine itself!
Coffee and Team Alertness
If you are taking part in a group fitness class such as CrossFit or you are training for a team sport, coffee could very help you work better alongside your team members. A 2018 Ohio State University study found that people working in teams were more alert and attentive to each other if they drank caffeinated coffee before working together. Because team fitness is greatly dependent on how in tune team members are to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, being intuitive, empathetic, and alert, is key.
The Secret Lies in Caffeine
If you are seeking to boost your fitness through coffee, then aim for home-brewed coffee made with your favorite bean rather than instant coffee or other watered down, flavored varieties. A study published in Cell Metabolism found that caffeine in your morning coffee might have the same effect on muscles as occurs when inactive men and women exercise for a short period: an immediate change to their DNA occurs, which marks the commencement of muscular adaptation to exercise. Researchers noted that this does not mean that coffee should replace exercise; physical activity is medicine, they noted, as much for the body as for the mind.
Moderation is Key
As is the case with wine and other beverages and foods with potential health benefits, moderation is important when it comes to coffee. The American Heart Association found that both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee causes blood pressure and nervous system activity to rise in those who don’t consume coffee regularly, indicating that there may be other substances in coffee (not the caffeine itself) which cause these stimulating effects. Interestingly, habitual coffee drinkers did not see the same rise in blood pressure. The researchers stated that the potential dangers of coffee could be lower in people with normal blood pressure. They concluded that moderate consumption (up to two cups a day) does not seem to have a negative effect on health.
If you love coffee, then providing you have no health conditions such as hypertension, moderation seems to be the way to go if you want to get the most from your fitness routine. Coffee, it seems, can help you go the extra mile. It can also make you more receptive to team members, so why not suggest a coffee meet-up before your next workout?
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content manager with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Her interests are mostly related to fitness and nutrition. Click here for more articles by Jane
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