Insta-Energy: 30-Seconds of Exercise Can Replace Your Coffee Fix



For many, the mere thought of giving up their daily 2 p.m. latte is enough to cause a full-blown panic attack. But according to an interesting article published in The Daily Beast, you might not actually need coffee to get a midday jolt of energy.

Writer Gregory Ferenstein conducted an experiment on himself, comparing his cognitive function (i.e. how sharp his brain was) after doing 30 seconds of exercise and after consuming 250 milligrams of caffeine. To measure the effect of each method, he tested himself using Quantified-Mind, a website that tests reaction time and memory. Get this: He found that a short burst of exercise had a greater effect on his cognitive performance than a the cup of java. Interesting, huh?

In further research on whether exercise can provide that oh-so-necessary afternoon pick-me-up, Ferenstein found that higher-intensity exercise has close to double the impact on cognitive function as moderate exercise. Studies also showed that exercise is only helpful in providing a mental-energy boost when it combines conditioning and strength training. So, a stationary plank won’t do the trick but 30 seconds of high-intensity burpees might work.

While Ferenstein did experience less brain fog post-burpee sesh, his short-term memory actually functioned better after a dose of caffeine rather than exercise. And, it turns out that the effects of acute exercise on cognitive performance are higher for those who are already physically fit versus those who aren’t. (Ferenstein is one of the fit types, so he was more likely to benefit from exercise than, say, a mostly sedentary person.)

Of course, this article shows just one person’s outcome, and is not the result of a scientific study. Meaning? Results could vary. But how about it Be Wellers—will you be trading in your afternoon latte for a set of mountain climbers?