Friday, March 21, 2008

COFFEE AND SPORTS PERFORMANCE

History confirms that coffee was discovered 1000 years ago, now in the modern day almost more that 85% of Maldivians drinks coffee on a regular basis. Thousand of years passed and still there is this mystery on scientific evidence the effects of active ingredient caffeine which is found in coffee. Caffeine is known as the most widely used stimulant drug in the world, mostly used in the form of coffee.

I hear many people say that they could easily fall a sleep after a cup of coffee and it has no effects on them to keep them awake or it doesn’t make them alert. Once caffeine is enters body it is well absorbed and peak blood level occurs. Within few days of regular use body develops a tolerance to the effects of caffeine. Like caffeine increases blood pressure of a first time user but no significant change in a frequent user.

Does caffeine has an impact on athletic performance?

A controversial issue, there are studies that confirms that using caffeine has no significant impact on high intensity or high performance sports such as sprinting, but it gives a positive impact on aerobic endurance athletes.

Some guidelines for athletes who use coffee (caffeine) as a stimulant to increase sports performance:

1 – The maximum effect of caffeine is reaped after 3 to 4 hours of using caffeine
2 – Be cautious as some individuals experience a significant drop in performance during the race or game.
3 – Make sure that you have used caffeine under variety of training conditions as a new user might experience difficulties. Never try something new on a race or game day.
4 – Make sure you are aware that if your caffeine level is way too high in your urine you get positive for illegal drugs under IOC (International Olympic Committee) standards.

Caffeine as a drug:

Understand that if your urine test contains more than 12mg/ltr of caffeine you will be positive for illegal drugs (anabolic steroid) as a competitive sports man. That is if you consume 8 cups or more of coffee you will have more than the set standard of caffeine in your urine and will considered as a deliberate attempt for doping.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

DEPRESSION

Have you ever felt a prolonged sadness, have you ever felt hopeless or helpless for a prolonged time? If so you have suffered a depression. Research indicates that one in every four women and one in every six men suffer from depression at some part of there life.

SYMPTOMS

Feeling sad, anxious or empty
Feeling hopelessness
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty remembering and making decisions
Overeating or loss of appetite
Aches, pains, headache, cramps
Digestive problems
Fatigue and less energy
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities including sex
Restlessness
Feeling helpless and worthlessness

HOW DOES EXERCISE HELP?

Research confirms that exercise can help improve symptoms of some mental health conditions such as depression. Although it isn’t fully understood how exercise reduces symptoms of depression. Some evidence proposes that exercise raises mood enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain, and boost feel good endorphins, reduces muscle tension, makes you sleep better and reduces the level of stress hormones.

Dr. Vickers-Douglas says small bouts of exercise may be a great way to get started if it’s initially too hard to do more.

EXERCISE RECOMMENDATION

30 minutes of exercise a day for a minimum of three to five days a week will significantly improve your self esteem and ease the symptoms of depression.

When choosing exercises choose activities you consider fun, which you enjoy. Some may enjoy and out door walk for a start or other may enjoy pumping iron at the gym. It’s all your choice, get started with what you desire and keep moving.

NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

First thing first, do not skip meals. Eat more organic food, concentrate on food rich in Vitamin B12 (liver, kidney of lamb and beef, sardines, lean beef, lamb, tuna, eggs etc) and folate also called folic acid (soybeans, kidney beans, asparagus, walnuts, spinach etc). Should not forget omega-3 fatty acid which is found in tuna.

Note that alcohol, sugar, tobacco and caffeine worsen emotional status.

References:

National Institute of Mental Health, US Department of Health and Human Services
Revolution Health, Personal Health Journal