Despite the environmental effects of all those cups, coffee itself is much loved. We like not just the taste but the effects of increased alertness.
Can coffee also make a workout more effective?
Coffee beans are the roasted seeds from the fruit of the Coffea plant, with the fruit itself removed. Sold for home grinding or as instant, coffee is an immensely complex cocktail of chemicals.
As well as caffeine, it contains chlorogenic acids (CGA) which give the bitter taste. CGAs are antioxidant compounds, which may have positive effects on the body.
There is evidence that coffee can reduce the risk of both cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Caffeine is a complex chemical in its own right and has different effects on different parts of the body.
It stimulates the central nervous system, with the effect of reducing feelings of tiredness and increasing alertness. It can raise the heart rate and blood pressure. It is a diuretic in excess, and too much can also cause an upset stomach.
It is also addictive, so suddenly stopping a high coffee intake can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Stimulating the central nervous system with caffeine tablets has been shown to improve performance for athletes.
The effect works best in endurance events and longer-duration exercise sessions such as tennis, basketball and even golf.
The effect of a cup or mug of coffee is harder to quantify. This is because the caffeine content in coffee varies widely depending on type and brewing method.
We also know that coffee stays in the body for several hours, but the best stimulant effect is in the first hour or two.
Take it at the right time, don’t defeat the object with lots of sugar and milk, and coffee may well help you get more value from your workout.
I used to be a shocker for too much coffee - don't fancy those jitters again! Like most things, it has its place in moderation, and I'm intrigued to read that it can actually improve a workout!