The afternoon slump is a very real thing. Maybe you’ve been sitting all day or ate way too many carbs at lunch. It might be just because you haven’t sipped water for hours, leaving you dehydrated and groggy. Even mental work can drain your energy. And while you may be tempted to run to the break room for your second (or third) cup of Joe, hold that thought. A trip down the stairs might be enough to boost your energy.
That’s not to say caffeine is bad for you. It’s amazing for increasing mood and cognitive performance, especially after a sleepless night. Even just 100 mg, or 1 cup of coffee, will help you kick butt during the day. But what if there was something better?1 2
Stair Climbing And Energy Levels
In a 2017 study in the Journal of Physiology & Behavior, researchers looked at how stair climbing affects the energy. It turns out just 10 minutes does a better job than 50 milligrams of caffeine. The best part? You can walk up and down at a regular pace, without intense or breathtaking strides. Of course, you’ll also get the usual benefits of physical activity. This is excellent news if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine or if you don’t exercise much.3
What’s Wrong With Caffeine?
In moderation, caffeine is actually quite healthy. Aside from keeping your mind on track, it induces thermogenesis, a process that burns calories. Even fat breakdown increases after ingesting caffeine. If you are fighting a headache caffeine will reduce adenosine receptors, which are vital for pain relief.4 5
The problem is when you drink too much. Each day, about 90% of people in North America consume an average of 180 milligrams. Coffee is the major source of caffeine, but you can also find it in carbonated soft drinks, tea, and even chocolate.6
At high doses, caffeine leads to restlessness and shakiness. Your heart rate will feel like it’s shooting through the roof! You become overly dependent on it. Using caffeine as an afternoon pick-up will bring on sleepless nights, only making you feel tired the next day. Talk about a vicious cycle.7
Tips For Stair Climbing
To get the most out of your mini workout, check out these tips for walking up and down the stairs successfully.
1. Time It Right
If you’re at work, walk up and down the stairs during lunch time. There’s lesser chance that you’ll run into people scurrying in between floors. You can also do it at the mall or at home.
2. Wear Supportive Sneakers
As with any exercise, stair climbing calls for proper shoes. Heels or sandals aren’t the smartest choices. Wearing supportive, comfy sneakers will limit the chances of injury.
3. Watch Your Step
Safety should be your first priority. Use the side rail to stay balanced. Avoid rushing up and down, which will increase the risk of slipping and falling. Keep your eyes peeled for people coming in the opposite direction.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to ditch coffee. A morning cup doubles as a delicious morning wake-up call. However, in the afternoon, stair climbing is enough to get the job done.
|↑1, ↑6||Randolph, Derek D., and Patrick J. O’Connor. “Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women.” Physiology & Behavior 174 (2017): 128-135.|
|↑2, ↑7||Caffeine. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑3||Randolph, Derek D., and Patrick J. O’Connor. “Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep-deprived young women.” Physiology & Behavior 174 (2017): 128-135.|
|↑4||Harpaz, Eynav, Snait Tamir, Ayelet Weinstein, and Yitzhak Weinstein. “The effect of caffeine on energy balance.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 28, no. 1 (2017): 1-10.|
|↑5||Baratloo, Alireza, Alaleh Rouhipour, Mohammad Mehdi Forouzanfar, Saeed Safari, Marzieh Amiri, and Ahmed Negida. “The role of caffeine in pain management: A brief literature review.” Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine 6, no. 3 (2016).|