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Are you one of the millions of individuals who can’t get through the morning without a dose of caffeine? If you are, then you may want to think twice about reaching for that cup of coffee and start reaching for your walking shoes instead. According to a study, going for a walk can be better for you than drinking a cup of coffee for an energy boost. Read on to find out why!
The Science Behind Walking as an Energy Booster
Many people find that they can’t start their day or even function well without a cup of coffee. However, a number of studies suggest that a bit of morning exercise, especially going on a walk, can be a better alternative than a cup of joe.
Researchers from the University of Georgia in Athens conducted a study where people walked in a stairwell at low to moderate intensity for 10 minutes. The results showed that the individuals felt more energized than when they consumed 50mg of caffeine, which is usually the amount in half a cup of coffee or slightly more than the amount in a can of soda.
The researchers tested the ability of the participants to quickly process and recall information under three different conditions: after 20 minutes of light jogging or brisk walking on the treadmill, after consuming as much caffeine as in an average cup of coffee, and with neither of those interventions as the baseline. The researchers found that 20 minutes of brisk walking improved the working memory of the participants as much as a dose of caffeine did.
Other research has also shown that walking for more than 20 minutes helps people feel more energized. If you’re wondering why, Patrick O’Connor, Ph. D., a University of Georgia kinesiology professor stated, “The best available evidence suggests that exercise induces changes in brain neurotransmitters, which play a role in boosting energy. Likely brain norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, or histamine is involved.”
Additionally, walking also promotes better blood circulation throughout the body, helping to get more oxygen and nutrients to the brain and the muscles. This helps you feel more alert and energized.
Reasons Why Walking Beats Caffeine
You now know the science behind walking versus a cup of coffee. However, if you aren’t completely convinced yet to give up caffeine, here are a few more reasons why walking beats coffee when it comes to energy boosting. Check them out!
Improves Your Overall Health
Walking isn’t just a quick fix to help you feel more alert, it’s also an effective way to maintain and improve your health, especially when done consistently. Regularly going on walks can help manage your weight, improve your mood, reduce stress, and lower cardiovascular disease risks. Walking is also a simple and easy way to increase your physical activity levels, leading to better overall health.
Helps With Your Sleep Patterns
A lot of individuals not only take coffee in the mornings but also take multiple cups throughout the day. Consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening can be terrible for the body as it can lead to sleep disturbance. This means that you may not be able to fall asleep at a proper time and can affect your sleep quality. Moreover, you’ll also be exhausted and less productive the next day.
You can turn this around by going for a walk instead. Walking more during the day can help you sleep better at night as you are exposed to natural light, helping to maintain and regularize your circadian rhythm. As we also know, walking reduces stress, and reduced stress means the ability to sleep better.
No Side Effects
While a cup of coffee can keep you awake, too much caffeine can cause health problems such as restlessness, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, nausea, and the like. You may also develop a dependency on caffeine and attempting to withdraw from it can also lead to fatigue, decreased energy, drowsiness, irritability, and more. Taking a short walk every day won’t introduce any substances to your system that can cause negative side effects.
Helps With Environment Changes
Taking a walk can help change the scenery and our environment, which is a great mental reset. Often, we feel stressed at work or at home. One way to reduce stress and refresh the mind is to walk for 10 minutes. Furthermore, walking outside allows you to get some fresh air, helping in improving your overall mood.
Walking is Calorie-Free
Unless you’re only drinking black coffee, any other form of coffee is a calorie bomb. Regularly drinking sweetened caffeinated beverages can cause you to gain weight. Physical activity is definitely better than drinking lattes or frappuccinos. Going for a walk not only keeps you energized but also helps with weight loss.
Feeling tired, exhausted, or sleepy? Try going for a walk instead of drinking a cup of coffee and see the energy-boosting effects for yourself. Walking is a simple yet ideal way to be more alert, improve your mood levels, reduce weight, and increase your physical activity.