If you’re like many people, you down a cup or two of coffee in the morning to clear mental fogginess and give your brain a jumpstart.
And science says it works.
Studies show the caffeine in coffee boosts cognition and helps your memory. That might be why the World Health Organization calls it “one of the most widely used psychoactive substances.”
But some people experience side effects with it, notably anxiety and insomnia.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were something that could provide the brain lift of caffeine without causing jitters?
New research says there is.
The study was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Researchers gave subjects a memory test. The goal? To find out which improved memory more, coffee or exercise.
The scientists had coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers do the test before and after running on a treadmill. They later had the coffee drinkers do the test after 12 hours of being deprived of the stimulant.
The results showed aerobic exercise and caffeine improved “working memory” to virtually the same extent.
Working memory is important for doing daily tasks. It’s responsible for temporarily keeping needed information in mind…a phone number, or a short shopping list, for example.
The bottom line?
If coffee puts you on edge or keeps you awake at night, try exercising instead. It will give you same mental edge without caffeine’s unpleasant side effects.
The Best Kind of Aerobic Exercise
Many of us are in a hurry in the morning. The good news is that aerobic exercise doesn’t have to take long.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to get a workout in less than 20 minutes.
HIIT works better than steady-state cardio like jogging or biking to improve heart strength, circulation, lung capacity, and overall fitness. And it takes just a fraction of the time.
HIIT is adaptable to many activities. You can run, cycle, swim, do calisthenics, or use a rowing, stair climber, or elliptical machine.
Warm up for three to five minutes doing your chosen form of exercise slowly.
Then do the exercise at the highest intensity you can for the next minute.
Slow down for a minute or two to catch your breath. Then go hard again for another minute.
Repeat this process five to seven times. Afterward, do the activity slowly for at least two minutes to cool down.
The idea is to push your body for a brief burst, and then allow it to recover.
There are plenty of reasons to exercise. You can now add improving your memory and alertness to the list.
Editor’s Note: If you’re concerned about preserving your memory as you age, you should read our Memory-for-Life Protocol. It tells you how to use the power of neurogenesis to keep your brain youthful and strong for the rest of your life. It’s in Independent Healing, our monthly newsletter. IH deciphers the latest science to bring you unbiased medical information that can transform your health. Find out more HERE.