Exercise has the same effect on the brain as coffee

Just 20 minutes of exercise is as good as a coffee for our working memory, according to a new, first-of-its-kind study.

In a new study, which appears in Nature Scientific Reports, researchers compared the effects of caffeine and exercise on working memory and concluded that acute exercise can be as good for the mind as it is for the body.

The side effects of caffeine

As good as a cup of coffee sounds, there is no escaping the fact that caffeine is a psychoactive substance and that some side effects come with it.

The side effects of caffeine consumption have been the inspiration for a new study that Harry Prapavessis — the director of the Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory at Western University in Ontario, Canada — recently led.

However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and the following symptoms may indicate too much caffeine:

• insomnia
• a headache
• raised heart rate
• anxiety
• upset stomach
• muscle tremors


Why ‘breaking up’ with coffee is so hard

Caffeine withdrawal can be an unwelcome surprise for anyone trying to cut down.

Nausea, fatigue, low energy, irritability, low mood, and a “foggy brain” are all common symptoms.

A review of studies investigating caffeine withdrawal found that 50% of people experienced a headache that lasted up to 9 days after they stopped consuming caffeine.


Keeping the brain alert without side effects

Recent research has suggested that just a single bout of exercise improves mood and cognition.

Countless other studies suggest that physical exercise can bring health benefits, such as fighting disease and extending life.

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