When I talk about tea, you probably think about the desi milk-chai, with generous amount of milk and sugar. You don’t necessarily think about, say, runners and athletes. But that’s a misconception. You’ve definitely heard someone tell you that tea is good for you. But beyond that general statement, you perhaps don’t know that tea has number of performance enhancing benefits that make it especially ‘a must drink’ for all runners and athletes.
Science and real-time global case studies prove that drinking tea supports physical activity through its preventive functions. It aids in providing more energy for training, quicker recovery, and is an unmatched nutritional tool for better performance. Tea helps athletes with improved alertness, more strength and an extra surge of energy during long workouts. The very high dose of antioxidants help the body metabolise fats for fuel late in the workouts, for needed strength endurance.
A 2004 study found that tea improved endurance capacity. ”Tea markedly improved endurance capacity and stimulated lipid use.” And a 2006 study concluded that “the endurance-improving effects of tea were mediated, at least partly, by increased metabolic capacity and utilisation of fatty acid as a source of energy.” In simple language it basically means that tea was found to improve strength and endurance during aerobic activity, and that increased endurance was in part due to an increase in fat being burnt for energy.
Tea is fantastic and also a smarter choice than coffee, soda or energy drinks. It’s true that caffeine is a proven performance enhancer that increases endurance, improves alertness and makes running feel easier. Although tea provides only half as much caffeine as coffee or energy drinks, it makes you feel good at the right places without any side effects, such as acidity and bloating. The acid in coffee and energy drinks can be hard, leading to heartburn and upset stomach. So, if you look at it, tea is your all natural ‘power drink’ that offers a boost and can even make you healthier.
I believe tea is very personal. In my opinion, I would recommend that fitness enthusiasts should collect an assortment of teas – black, oolong, green, white and herbal blends, and see what they enjoy the most. Maybe it’s delicate green tea in the morning, oolong after a run, or a herbal blend without any caffeine to wind down after an evening run. And remember, quality counts in tea. So, make sure that you choose whole leaf, high quality, all natural, fresh and premium tea. For added flavour and health boost, try infusing your tea with fresh fruits, herbs and spices.
Get to know your tea, experiment and explore, develop your relationship and enjoy your fitness journey with tea. It is your all round performance drink. So, drink up and see how tea can step up your game!