This week the health editor at Team Run Smart, Clarissa Berres, discussed some common sense alternatives to coffee for keeping alert on the road. Some are well-known items, some may surprise you.
Coffee as a casual drink has very little effect on the body, but when you begin to make a habit of filling up the big mug to save some money, things can get dicey. Your blood pressure stays up, your hydration decreases, your nerves get more frazzled and your sleep cycle gets interrupted. Bad news.
As an interesting side note, we’ve compared the dangers and benefits of caffeinated drinks before, with a handy infographic. It’s a HUGE image though, so don’t click through if you don’t have a good wifi connection.
What are Clarissa’s recommendations?
- Food – Snacking on foods that have “good sugars” and low calories keep your metabolism up, along with your reaction times. Fruits (but not juices), Nuts, Cheeses and Beef Jerky are good places to start.
- Water – We’ll call this one a no-brainer since water is the best thing for your body, bar none. However, over-doing it can cause troubles on the road, so watch how much you hydrate. Use the 8×8 rule.
- Vitamins – Getting a good supply and maintaining levels of vitamins C, D, E, B12 and B6 are essential to weight loss, fat control and healthy organs.
- Tea – Herbal teas made fresh (avoid bottled ones if you can) have lots of great things inside – antioxidants, tannins, and just a little bit of caffeine to keep the eyes open.
- Chewing Gum – It helps you stay alert, has virtually no calories, boosts your desire to drink water, and helps keep you feeling full. At a buck a pack, why not do it every day?
- Cold Air – A stiff breeze keeps the yawns at a minimum. No calories and it’s “free.”
- Exercise – Take a few extra minutes a day during a rest stop to boost your metabolism and energy by taking a brisk walk, doing some stretches, push ups, or biking. It’s free and your body will thank you at the end of the day.