Cold hands and other unusual elements that impact your fitness routine
Your workout can be affected by your mood, what you ate during the day, and your energy levels, among other factors. But there are also simple, unexpected ways you can ensure you're at your best before, during, and after your exercise. Find out what they are below!
Before: You know that coffee energizes you, so it may not seem so odd that this beverage can help you when you're working out. But the reason why coffee works for your workout isn't only because it makes you wired and ready to go. Caffeine actually increases your endurance by affecting how your muscles use energy in your body while you work out. Studies have shown that caffeine mobilizes fat in your body so your muscles use it as fuel, instead of glycogen in your body. That allows you to exercise longer, since your body doesn't use the carbs you ate before your workout until later. Caffeine has also been shown to help reduce postworkout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), so go ahead and enjoy a small cup of coffee or tea before you work out.
During: Hold onto your water bottle while you go for a run? If you do, it may be just the thing that's helping you keep going. A new study found that having cold hands kept obese woman exercising longer, since they were less likely to feel overheated and uncomfortable. If you want to try this trick to see if it helps you, add ice to your water bottle before an intense workout session and use it to cool down your hands as you exercise.
After: Sore muscles are a common post-workout problem, but even though they are a good problem to have, having sore muscles can make it harder to stick to your workout routine or to go as intensely as you'd like. There are many ways to ease DOMS, but they don't just stop at massages and warm baths. You can also drink a little bit of tart cherry juice to keep those muscles happy. Studies have found that drinking cherry juice (or eating cherries) before and after your workout can help ease muscle soreness. If cherries aren't your favorite, try these other foods that help ease aches and pains.