Exercise is a way of life for many people, but so is tiring quickly. In order to keep fit and healthy it’s essential that regular exercise is undertaken, but to prevent the dreaded burn out there’s a surprising little helper – green tea.
Among the many other benefits of green tea, it can be used to: increase exercise endurance, improve performance, and prolong workout sessions. Studies are confirming this fact as well, with one having been conducted by Murase et al . The researchers wanted to look at the effects of green tea catechins in relation to endurance, fat oxidization and energy metabolism, using mice as subjects.
Over a 10-week period the mice were given different levels of green tea extract and then had to swim to exhaustion, with results showing that the mice that were fed higher doses of green tea could swim for 8-24% longer. This shows the increased endurance effects of green tea, with researchers also finding that higher doses led to reduced respiratory quotients and increased levels of fat oxidization. So, as well as being a great way to increase exercise endurance, the results also indicate that green tea can be good for overall fitness and fat loss.
But why is that? A lot of people think it’s the caffeine content that keeps us going, and while that could quite possibly play a part it seems that there’s a bit more to it than that.
As with a lot of the benefits of green tea, it largely comes down to the antioxidants contained within it. The above study even focused part of its research on the effects of epigallocatechin gallate, a primary antioxidant of green tea, finding that the endurance-enhancing effects of green tea were largely down to this one catechin.
Don’t be put off by the fact that the study was conducted on mice. Murase estimates that for an athlete to see the same effects as was apparent in the study, they’d have to drink just four cups of green tea a day. And, it’s also worth noting that a single high dose of green tea catechins won’t do the trick. The study showed that this didn’t affect performance at all. Rather, it’s the long-term consumption of green tea that will have the most effect. As it only requires four cups a day, it’s hardly a major lifestyle inconvenience.
So, green tea really can be used to increase exercise endurance. It would be a great dietary addition for athletes who want to improve their performance, or even for novices who want to get started with a bit of a helping hand. Either way, green tea is incredibly beneficial. As it has plenty of other health benefits, it’s a great addition to anyone’s diet with numerous studies confirming it.
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1] Murase T, Haramizu S, Shimotoyodome A, Nagasawa A, Tokimitsu I. Green tea extract improves endurance capacity and increases muscle lipid oxidation in mice. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005 Mar;288(3):R708-15. Epub 2004 Nov 24.