"No way!" thinks most people that read such an outrageous title. But is that you thinking, or is it the coffee flowing through your veins? Most people feel they "just can't" without a few cups of coffee during the workday. This might be a problem.
In this write-up, we'll make a case that there's a powerful alternative to coffee. Or better yet, a compliment! One that doesn't shatter your dreams (because you can't sleep, get it?!), make you jitter, or give you acid reflux.
We're talking about physical activity breaks. And they might just revolutionize the way you work.
Don’t fret! We’re not setting out to make coffee the bad guy here. In fact, at Wakeout, we love coffee! But if coffee is your only source of "energy" during the workday, we suggest you consider replacing a cup of Joe or two with a physical activity break. Here's why:
The thing about coffee is...
There's the jitters. Or the trouble falling asleep. Then there’s the acid indigestion and the infernal twitch at the corner of your eyes.
But, oh the aroma! Then there’s that nice little bite of a cup o’ Joe that’s rich and strong as the morning sun. Plus there’s the biggie. The ever-so-dependable afternoon slump. That’s when a spot of coffee gives you just the kick to get through the remaining work time.
Oh well, that’s life. And you certainly want yours to outlast high blood pressure, chronically disrupted sleep, and the recent creeping state of anxiety.
Coffee Vs. Caffeinated Drinks
Let’s get back to caffeine. The real troublemaker! People want to know: Do all energy drinks contain caffeine?
Energy Drink Emergency
The short answer is: Yes, energy drinks contain caffeine. In some, it’s a whopping 240 milligram (mg) of caffeine in a 16-ounce cup compared with 35 mg in a 12-ounce cola. Or, 100 mg in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. Even scarier are energy shots that are tiny and can have up to 200 mg per their barely there 2-ounce gulp. We are not sure if that’s more heart-pounding or heart-stopping. Anyway, you get the picture.
The Caffeine Truth About Teas
Now that the whole caffeine drink truth is out, let’s talk tea and its benefits. Though there are some, the truth must be told. Black tea contains up to 100 mg of caffeine for every 8-ounce cup of tea.
Even the delicate oblong variety delivers up to 50 mg in every eight ounces. The wondrous green teas contain up to 40 mg for the same portion. There are health benefits we’ll stack up with exercise as we go on. It’s best to have info for making informed energy-boosting choices!
Caffeine Lurks in Other Quarters
Ah yes, there’s caffeine in chocolate, except the white type, and in some pain and cold medicines. Some of that caffeine is synthetic. Bottom line is to read the package’s fine print to see what you’re getting.
Before summarizing caffeine’s gloomy downsides, let’s shift to exercise’s upsides. You deserve some positivity!
Oh, The Glorious Gains of Physical Activity Breaks Over Coffee
Taking physical activity breaks provides improved circulation and breathing - among the sea of other benefits. It pumps oxygen into the brain, which helps with clarity of thought and creativity. Then there are those delicious endorphins that are released when you do physical activities, which make you feel like a space eagle soaring across space and time.
We've also found that regular physical activity breaks trumps coffee by providing everything your brain and body needs for productive work. After a brief physical activity break, your focus can be dramatically enhanced, especially if your breathing and heart rate went up.
Breaking up sedentary marathons
Most importantly, physical activity breaks break up your sedentary marathons. Because of this, you avoid the corrosive consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. Take that coffee! You get up, move a little, raise your arms, turn your head, perhaps dance a little. Just a minute of this every hour is shown to reset the poison that is sitting all day (yea, we're passionate about getting people out of their chairs).
Most importantly, physical activity breaks break up your sedentary marathons.
Mood & Stress Mastery
Regular physical activity breaks improves mood and is good for your mental health. Some of this is caused by endorphins, the good feeling hormones that exercise boosts. Other hormones that are linked with stress are balanced out by regular physical activity. Adrenaline is one, cortisol is another.
Bottom line is that oxidative stress is the result of unrelenting overload. That, combed with not enough balancing factors. That’s where exercise breaks come in. It’s one way to boost your antioxidant powers. They’re substances that keep your cells from being hurt by free radicals, unstable molecules that harm cells throughout your body. They’re a byproduct of oxidation, a normal metabolic process. Antioxidants go after these potential harms to flush them from your body. Guess what? These do-good substances also protect your brain from some of aging’s effects.
Burnout prevention: Coffee vs Physical Activity Breaks
Coffee may creep you towards burnout. By giving you such a strong disposition to work, you may push yourself past your healthy limit. Since coffee provides a sense of alertness, you might not even realize that you're burning the candle at both ends, making it likely to go up in flames without even noticing the smoke around you.
Frequent physical activity breaks, on the other hand, are natural energy boosters, stress relievers and creativity enhancers. This means you're able to work more, but remain sensitive to your body's fatigue gauge. Frequent breaks, especially if there's a little movement involved, are shown to help reduce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. This means they're an effective tonic in the never-ending fight against burnout.
Drop the Coffee?
We’re not suggesting that you boot coffee or your fave caffeinated drink to the curb. That is almost a certain way to have your behavior change fall flat. Like you, we want success for your well-being. That applies to you and anyone else seeking to wake up the exercise way.
The idea is to balance out your energy-boosting requirements by adding frequent physical activity breaks to the mix. In some cases, try replacing a cup of coffee with a 1-minute physical activity break. See how you feel over the course of a week. In the afternoon, try and get rid of coffee entirely and replace it with movement breaks. This will help keep you productive while avoiding sacrificing crucial sleep quality to cross a few more items off the to-do list.