If your new year resolution to 'do more exercise' has fallen in a heap, science shows a solution could be found in a simple cup of coffee.
In a paper published in Sports Medicine, Professor Samuele Marcora, a University of Kent endurance expert, suggests the use of caffeine could help people stick to their fitness plans.
Responding to the findings that the majority of people give up their resolution to do more exercise within the first six months, Marcora said his research could provide a solution because reducing perception of effort during exercise using caffeine could help the many people who find it difficult to stick to fitness plans.
Together with lack of time, physical exertion is one of the main perceived barriers to exercise, which is natural as humans evolved to effectively conserve energy. This inherent 'laziness' means that sustaining exercise in the long term is very difficult even when people are still motivated to improve their health and fitness as when they started. Marcora points out that perception of effort is one of the main reasons why most people choose sedentary activities for their leisure time. Compared to watching television (zero effort), even moderate-intensity physical activities like walking require effort. He says that the use of caffeine or other psychoactive drugs to reduce perception of effort during exercise can make the healthy choice easier.