A cup of coffee can help people keep their New Year’s resolution to exercise more, a top expert says.
Most people give up their resolution to do more exercise within the first six months, but a cup of coffee could help them strengthen their resolve, says professor Samuele Marcora, research director of the School of Sports Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent in the UK.
Reducing the perception of exercise by using caffeine (or other psychoactive drugs that act as stimulants, such as Ritalin or Provigil) could help the many people who find difficult to stick to their fitness plans, he says.
“Together with lack of time, physical exertion is one of the main perceived barriers to exercise, which is natural as humans evolved to effectively conserve energy,” says professor Marcora. “This inherent 'laziness' means that sustaining exercise in the long term is very difficult even when people are still motivated to improve their health and fitness as when they started,” he notes.
The perception of effort is one of the main reasons why most people choose sedentary activities for their leisure time. Compared to watching television, which requires no effort, even moderate-intensity physical activities like walking require considerable effort, he says.
While there is no strong ethical opposition to the use of psychoactive drugs to help quit smoking (nicotine) or treat obesity (appetite suppressants), the negative perception of doping in sport may prevent the use of stimulants and other psychoactive drugs to treat physical inactivity is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity, Prof. Marcora adds in his article, which appears in Sports Medicine.
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