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Healthy Living

Some Coffee with Your Push-Ups?

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 07/08/2010
Last Updated: 08/14/2012

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Lately, I've been noticing a lot of people at my gym walking around holding cups from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. Oh, good idea, I think.I wouldn't have to waste my time at home drinking coffee; I could just get up and grab a cup on the way to the gym and drink it while I work out.

 But I'm not enough of a morning person to do that. I need to sit and slowly sip while my eyes and brain adjust to the day.

Turns out there may be another reason for this sudden rash of coffee drinkers. Scientists in the UK have found that high doses of caffeine directly increase muscle power and endurance during physical activities.

As reported at Ivanhoe.com, caffeine can help humans enhance their energy from everyday activity to running a marathon.

While scientists have already known that the stimulation of the nervous system makes caffeine enhance athletic performance, this is another more advanced finding. Apparently, the caffeine in blood plasma acts on the receptors of skeletal muscles, allowing the body to produce more force.

Now, I can't exactly picture mice doing formal exercises–but these were the subjects being tested (Remember the cartoon "Mighty Mouse?" Maybe he was downing coffee with his cheese). The scientists are hoping that humans would be likely to show the same effects.

I have other ways of enhancing my performance at the gym:

I psych myself with some , I play upbeat music on my iPod, I look around at all the strong and fit bodies and tell myself that maybe, just maybe, I can look that way, too.

But I can't say I'm not tempted to go a wee bit out of myway the next time I go to the gym and take a detour for Starbucks. Or suggest that my gym, alongside their juice bar, put in a coffee bar.

And since it's not listed (yet?) as a banned substance by the World Anti-doping Agency, I wonder if gyms are going to start to set up coffee bars alongside their juice bars.

Some other surprising benefits and uses for coffee:

As an odor eater in a stinky fridge: A small bowl of unused coffee grounds will suck up smelly moisture. It works, too, anywhere there is a bad odor; try tying grounds in a cheesecloth pouch alongside your garbage to keep odors at bay.

Keep Alzheimer's away: Several new studies suggest that caffeine could protect your brain. But there's a catch: you need to drink 500 mg (or the equivalent of about 5 cups a day)

Reduce diabetes risk: When scientists analyzed data over many years, they found that diabetes risk can be reduced by drinking 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day. And the more you drink, the more your risk is decreased.

Reduce Parkinson's Risk: People who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop this disease, found at least six studies.

Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer, Liver Cirrhosis Risk, Gallstones: Compared to not drinking coffee, at least 2 cups a day can result in a lower incidence of these health conditions.

This matters> Coffee is not for everyone. You might be a person who doesn't like it or can't tolerate the way it makes you feel. And of course, if you're pregnant or are a heart patient, you'd probably be wise to avoid it.

Inspired? You might want to .

Comments

This is all interesting. I don't like coffee at all so it makes me wonder how much healthier I could be if I drank it.

I am *so* happy to learn at least one of my habits is healthy. Salud!

Makes that cup of coffee a bit more enjoyable, doesn't it?

As I sit here enjoying a cup of coffee, I'm thrilled to read all these benefits. Especially the fact that it's an odor absorber - neat! I drink it regularly and especially love having a cup to get me geared up for a new project of some sort.

Christine

Big coffee drinker here so this is good news to me. What about decaffeinated coffee? My system can only tolerate a small amount of caffeine before I have to switch to decaffeinated. Do the benefits still exist with decaffeinated coffee?

That's a great question, Donna. I've got to look into it - I'm now curious, myself.

No way I can exercise with my coffee, unless eyeballs count. I drink it French-style, in the early morning, to wake up. It is so strong that I cannot drink any more during the day or sleep becomes unattainable at night. Methinks the coffee you are referring to is the watered down stuff that reminds me of dirty bath water? How can that miniscule amount of caffeine increase muscle power? Uh-un. Don't believe those British scientists.

We have a bike shop with a coffee bar and many of the cyclists will come in for a shot or two of espresso before their rides. I always run better post coffee. It does really make a difference.

How interesting, Alisa. There really is something to it, isn't there?

In the morning, I like my coffee slow, so my brain can wake up. While I absolutely appreciate all the benefits coffee offers, I can't imagine drinking my morning cup (or two) while working out. Even thinking of the taste of coffee in the gym seems wrong. Give me water with my exercise, please!

I'm with you, Jesaka. Coffee somehow doesn't go well, in my personal opinion, while walking/running at the gym; before or after is a whole other story though!

I'm not a coffee drinker though I do like an iced mocha from Starbucks on occasion. How 'bout tea with my push-ups? Will that work?! :)

I cut out coffee, sugar, and alcohol and though I LOVE coffee (my husband wrote that post you linked to), I'm really feeling MUCH BETTER without any coffee in my system. I'll take my exercise without the coffee, thank you!

Sheryl,
never have been a coffee drinker -- tea all the way. hope you'll do a post or two on tea's benefits in future.

Thanks for the suggestion, Kerry. I'd love to do a post on tea - so, so many benefits to drinking it - wish I liked it more myself.

I've read about caffeine and exercise before, but thought you only saw an increase in performance with long workout session, over an hour long, if I remember correctly. Is that what they are saying with this research as well?

Ha, I'm so happy about this article,it give me a new excuse to drink my beloved coffee. Gracias!

I'm not much of a coffee person (hate the taste), and I can usually motivate myself in other ways. I wonder if some of coffee's health benefits can be found in other sources?

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