Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tea and Exercise Connection

Every time the new year rolls around, gyms and fitness centers see a surge in new memberships. I don't find fault with this at all; I'm glad to know people are looking to make changes for the better. Sadly, most of the new memberships go from sizzle to fizzle in a very short time.

I have a suggestion.

Drink tea.

I'm serious.

A study in the American Journal of Physiology demonstrated that over a 10 week period, mice that were fed green tea extract paddled as much as 24% longer in a swim-to-exhaustion trial. They also burned more fat than their no tea companions.

Another study on postmenopausal women showed that pairing tea with exercise may have beneficial effects on bone density. The women drank 4-6 cups of green tea a day and did tai chi three times a week. After six months, improvements were seen in not just bone health, but muscle strength, and emotional and mental health. There was also a positive effect on oxidative stress (a precursor to inflammation). This pairs nicely with a similar study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, where participants consumed one cup of tea a week (black, green, or oolong) for ten years. The participants had higher bone density in all areas of the body.

To assist in the fat burning that usually accompanies exercise, a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that people drinking five cups of oolong tea each day burned an average of 87 additional calories. Not just while they were drinking their tea, but throughout the day.

Researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences determined that mice on a high-fat diet that consumed decaffeinated green tea extract and exercised regularly experienced sharp reductions in final body weight and significant improvements in health. After 16 weeks, high-fat-fed mice that exercised regularly and ingested green tea extract showed an average body mass reduction of 27.1 percent and an average abdominal fat mass reduction of 36.6 percent. And it gets better. The mice on the green-tea-extract-and-exercise regimen also experienced a 17 percent reduction in fasting blood glucose level, a 65 percent decrease in plasma insulin level and reduction in insulin resistance of 65 percent. This is significant because the mice that ingested green tea extract but did not exercise or those that exercised but were not given green tea extract experienced less significant changes in weight and health measurements.

Now, first and foremost, I am NOT suggesting anyone take green tea extract. What I am suggesting is drink tea.

Also, in all seriousness, I am not suggesting tea is the be all to end all in regards to your health, and by all means, please exercise. EVERY SINGLE HEALTH ISSUE I have ever read about, especially those that are lifestyle related, always have the same suggestion: exercise. Your body wants to move. If you have concerns, schedule a visit with your doctor before you start.

So, this new year, no matter what your resolutions are, or how good your record is for keeping them, do your body a favor and exercise. You don't need a gym or a fitness center. All you need is a good pair of shoes. Go for daily walks around your neighborhood or at a local park. It really is that simple.

And don't forget to treat yourself to a nice cuppa. The exercise does wonder for the body, but tea does wonders for the soul.

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