Should you drink coffee before you run?

Yes, there are some health benefits to your morning cup of coffee.

1. It can make you run faster

Two to three cups of a robust brew can reduce levels of perceived exertion in athletes and increase endurance performance by an average of 24 per cent, giving you an extra push when you need it, concluded a 2016 review of multiple studies.

Research published in theJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport shows that consuming 5 mg of caffeine can give your run a little kick. Runners who had caffeine before running a 5K improved their time by about 1 percent as compared to when they didn’t have it. That means if you run a 20-minute 5K, caffeine could help you cut off 12 seconds.

2. It can preserves your memory

Moderate long-term coffee consumption (around three cups a day) is associated with a 27 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to research presented at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society’s 2016.

3. It might help you recover faster

According to the American Physiological Society, post-workout caffeine can aid in muscle recovery if consumed with carbs. That’s because it helps bring glucose from your blood and into your muscles, therefore replenishing your stores, in as little as four hours.

4. It might help you focus on the run

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that caffeine before a workout helped people concentrate better during their sweat session, even if they didn’t sleep well the night before. So they were able to devote more mental focus to their task at hand, which can help reap physical benefits, too.

5. And lift your mood once you’ve finished

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drank two to three cups a day were 15 per cent less likely to develop depression, compared with those who had one cup or less per day. This may be due to how caffeine binds to mood receptors.

6. It can actually keep you healthy

Studies show that people who drink coffee regularly tend to live longer and have lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and melanoma. These benefits are probably connected to the black stuff’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

And… you should drink it after a run too

Most of the science to date has explored the benefits of caffeine pre-exercise, but a new study suggests there may also be benefits to caffeine post-exercise. The research, published in the journal Nutrients, found that drinking coffee after a hard workout improves muscle glycogen syntheses, allowing you to recover more effectively before your next bout of exercise. The study took 11 trained male cyclists and had them complete a four-hour ride in the afternoon, followed by another the next morning. After the second ride, the cyclists were given a drink of coffee, milk and sugar, or an equally sugary drink but without the coffee. The results? The cyclists who drank the coffee beverage saw their glycogen supply increase 57% more than the cyclists who drank the beverage without coffee. What does this mean for runners? After a tough session, make sure you refuel with carbs, protein and a cup of coffee. Any complaints? No, we didn’t think so.


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