Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How Caffeine Affects Your Workout

GettyImages-470296838 (1)Caffeine functions as a stimulant, which means you will experience an increased heart rate, more blood flow to your body, and more oxygen to your muscles when you consume it. Here are five ways caffeine can energize your workout routine:

1. When it comes to caffeine and exercise, a little goes a long way.

It doesn’t matter how you ingest caffeine; its impact depends on how much you consume. Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults, but when it comes to exercise, small amounts are more than sufficient to energize your workout. (See this NIFS blog for the content in your favorite beverages and food.)

2. Caffeine can increase endurance and make your workouts feel easier.

Whether you prefer running outside or working out on the elliptical, caffeine can increase endurance up to 30 percent as well as improve your speed by 2 to 5%. With caffeine, your body’s muscle consumption of glycogen (stored energy during exercise) decreases, which forces you to use fat reserves as energy. This helps delay muscle fatigue.

3. Caffeine may not burn fat, but it helps burn more calories.

Studies show that caffeine increases fatty acids in the blood, but the body ignores the extra fats and doesn’t oxidize them. Consuming coffee before exercise helps burn up to 15% more calories for three hours afterward.

4. Timing matters—before a long workout is best.

Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so the time you consume it matters if you want to improve your performance. Since caffeine increases endurance, it can provide a greater training effect from the workout.

5. Metabolism varies, so listen to your body.

People metabolize caffeine at different rates. Some people do not respond positively to it and can get nervous or distracted after consuming it. Drinking too much caffeine along with working out can lead to dehydration and fatigue for some people, which will decrease the ability to perform. Always listen to your body.

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Even though consuming caffeine before a workout can improve your performance, it is important to be mindful and know your body. Don’t always rely on caffeine as an energy booster. Balance is the key.

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Topics: calories muscle endurance metabolism workout caffeine

Staying Active While Traveling

Many people travel during the summer, whether on vacation or for work. One of the most difficult habits to maintain during these trips is exercise. Traveling can really disrupt your daily routine and your sleep schedule, which can make staying active seem like a chore. However, it is important to continue an exercise routine in order to stay healthy. Even a scaled down version of your traditional regimen may help you maintain during time away. Below are some tips for continuing an active lifestyle while you're on the road.

NIFS | Airport travle

Those who travel lightly will be happy to know that there are many exercises which require almost no equipment. The most obvious forms of aerobic exercise include walking and/or running. Walking up and down stairs is another great aerobic option when a staircase is available, near your hotel or even in the hotel itself. Body weight exercises are a great option for continuing a resistance exercise routine while traveling. Examples of these include; push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats. Resistance bands are a great addition to any suitcase, because they allow for greater variety of exercises in a small, light package. Depending on where you stay, you may even find a tree branch that doubles as a pull-up bar on a walk!

Before you begin your travels look to see if the hotel where you’re staying offers an onsite gym so you can get a quick workout in before or at the end of your day. Or, consider if there are there any parks nearby that would offer a scenic walk or jog. If you're flying to your destination, walk through the airport (if time allows) and skip the moving floor. So even if you don’t get in a workout or you don’t have time when you arrive, you can at least feel good about the steps you did get in for the day.

Consistent physical activity is maintainable even when on the road. A big key to success is finding something that you enjoy enough to maintain despite disruptions in your normal routine. Do you hate the idea of a long walk or jog while traveling? Bring a jump-rope for a short cardio exercise that really gets your heart rate up. Don’t like push-ups or squats? Bring some resistance bands with you on your travels so you can perform a chest press, arm curls and a resisted hip extension. Hopefully, some of these ideas resonate with you and let you see that regular exercise is possible even when on the road.

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Topics: running walking bodyweight workout staying active while traveling

My Favorite Workout: Trying New Exercises or Activities

ThinkstockPhotos-165103697.jpgSomeone recently asked me, “What is your favorite workout?” I thought about my answer for a little bit. I do like to run, and I usually run about three days a week, but is that my favorite workout? No, my favorite workout is always when I’m trying new exercises or activities!

Try a New Exercise or Activity

The workouts that I enjoy the most are the workouts that I haven’t tried before, or don’t get to do very often. Whether it’s a new obstacle course race, running a newfound path, hiking a new trail, indoor rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, a taking a new Barre class, or just changing up a high-intensity interval workout, new workouts and exercises can be challenging and fun.

I’m like most people, I think, and doing the same workout day-in and day-out can get old. Like I said, I still run about three days a week, but I also try to mix it up with new workouts on a regular basis. I recently went to an indoor trampoline park with my kids. I had so much fun! I also had no idea how sore I would be the next day, simply because I was having too much fun to realize how much of a workout I was really getting.

The Benefits of Trying Something New

Besides being fun, switching up your workouts and trying something new can have lots of other benefits. Changing your workouts regularly can help break through the dreaded weight-loss plateau. It can also help prevent overuse injuries and build new muscles that you don’t use during your typical workouts.

Continuously trying new workouts can help build your confidence and keep your brain healthy. When you learn something new, it can help you feel empowered, more confident and ready to learn other new skills. And, learning new skills helps keep your neurons firing and your brain sharp, and helps to prevent memory loss.

New Workouts to Try

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Group fitness classes—Vinyasa Yoga, Zumba, PiYo, Boot Camp, Barre, etc.
  • Sign up for a 5K or a 10K, or challenge yourself to a half or full marathon.
  • Ballroom dancing classes
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Martial arts
  • Water sports—skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, whitewater rafting, etc.
  • Ziplining
  • Outdoor obstacle courses

What are some activities that you have recently tried or would like to try?

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Topics: activities exercises workout