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Caffeine vs exercise: opt for a quick walk up and down the stairs!

A Quick Walk Up And Down A Flight Of Stairs Packs A More Powerful And Restorative Buzz Than A Midday Jolt Of Caffeine, According To New Research.

PTI | Updated on: 21 Apr 2017, 02:46:14 PM
Caffeine (Source: PTI)


According to new research, a quick walk up and down a flight of stairs packs a more powerful and restorative buzz than a midday jolt of caffeine.

Researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) in the US found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energised than ingesting 50 milligrammes of caffeine -equivalent to the amount in a can of soda.

"We found, in both the caffeine and the placebo conditions, that there was not much change in how they felt", said Patrick J O'Connor, professor at UGA's department of kinesiology.

"But with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous. It was a temporary feeling, felt immediately after the exercise, but with the 50 milligrammes of caffeine, we did not get as big an effect", said J O'Connor.

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The study aimed to simulate the hurdles faced in a typical office setting, where workers spend hours sitting and staring at computer screens and do not have time for a longer bout of exercise during the day.

For the study, participants on separate days either ingested capsules containing caffeine or a placebo, or spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs - about 30 floors total- at a low-intensity pace.

"Office workers can go outside and walk, but weather can be less than ideal. It has never rained on me while walking the stairs", said O'Connor.

"And a lot of people working in office buildings have access to stairs, so it is an option to keep some fitness while taking a short break from work", he said.

Study participants were female college students who described themselves as chronically sleep deprived - getting less than six and a half hours per night of shut eye.

To test the effects of caffeine versus the exercise, each group took some verbal and computer-based tests to gauge how they felt and how well they performed certain cognitive tasks.

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Neither caffeine nor exercise caused large improvements in attention or memory, but stair walking was associated with a small increase in motivation for work.

The study was published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour.

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First Published : 21 Apr 2017, 02:26:00 PM

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