Coffee is without doubt the most popular drink the world over. Socially acceptable everywhere, it is a means for getting to know people, a must have beverage in times of stress, and addictive to those who need to keep alert and fully cognizant of their environment. No one I know can resist having a cup of coffee when offered, whether it is as a sign of hospitality or an energy booster. Now it appears that if your fitness drive needs a kickstart, try a coffee before you exercise. Caffeine can make our workouts seem easier according to a leading psychologist.
‘When we exercise, our nerve cells produce a chemical that makes us feel fatigue, called adenosine, but caffeine is known to block the adenosine, preventing us from feeling physically drained and therefore making us more motivated to continue exercising,’ said Professor Samuele Marcora of the University of Kent.
‘Adenosine also had an impact on how mentally fatigued we feel, making coffee particularly useful for those who often find exercise too much of a chore at the end of the working day,’ said the professor. ‘Taking caffeine before a workout reduces perception of effort and enables people to exercise on average, 11% longer than a placebo.’ He said: ‘It also increases exercise enjoyment and this should motivate people to stick to their exercise programme in the long term. Adenosine is also one of the main causes of mental fatigue and mental fatigue increases perception of effort and reduces exercise performance, so using caffeine before a workout is particularly beneficial to people that go for a run or to the gym after work when they are mentally tired.’
He said drinking 3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight before exercise should be ‘effective without inducing unpleasant side effects in most people.’ For a 65 kg woman (just over 10 stone) two cups of fresh filtered coffee would be right. His comments appeared in the journal Sports Medicine.
I always believed that coffee most have certain beneficial properties if taken in small quantities and my instinct seems to have been borne out by this latest study. So to those who love their coffee, that’s cheering news which we can all share, with the comforting belief that doomsayers who think otherwise can, for all I care, go to hell.