A cup of coffee gets old muscles buzzing too

caffiene like a little TNT for old folks A cup of coffee gets old muscles buzzing tooYou know, more than likely at a deep personal level – that caffeine gets the brain psyched up a little, or a lot, allowing you to run on empty. 

As a java junkie, you may not fully appreciate that caffeine’s magical powers extends beyond head effects. Caffeine gets physical, it has the ability to wake up those muscles, so they go-go too. Many athletic types exploit the power of the bean, to pick up their performance, so they bring home a few extra medals. 

But now research from Coventry University, suggests caffeine is also able to lift older muscles out of retirement.

Retired muscles don’t pack as much punch

One of the many things that goes, as you age are your muscles. Oddly enough, despite this being a pretty universal phenomenon that kicks in for everyone in their sixties, muscle loss, officially known as sarcopenia, doesn’t get quite as much press, as crumbling bones, sagging breasts and forgetfulness.

Your muscles ALWAYS begin retirement when you hit retirement age. Fortunately it is a relatively gradual process – so the loss is slow, but with time, muscles do become weaker.

Keeping them in the groove with a few leg lifts and some good food, can help slow the speed of decline. But now for the good news, so can keeping up that java habit.

Java habit still helps old mouse muscles

The sports scientists at Coventry University tested how two different types of mouse muscle, both young and old, responded to caffeine.

The team found :

  • Old muscles still got a lift from the caffeine. The forces generated were not quite in the league of muscles in their prime, but a dose of caffeine still provided a shot of power.
  • Very young muscles didn’t respond much to the caffeine blast. Confirming a cup of coffee or can of fizz, may not always be so cool for little people.

Old muscles are a liability

Weak muscles are a health liability….

  • they increase the risk of toppling over, which can cause some serious ouch
  • plus, as their function declines – getting out of things, the bath, the bed, the chair, becomes a nightmare, robbing you of your independence.

So maintaining muscle power should be on your list of things to do.

Don’t retire the caffeine habit

The majority of the working world, use a little pharmacological help, during the course of the work day, just to keep their spirits up and their motors on overdrive. Some people try to live on the stuff, but this is something only a very few can successfully do.

Retirement may not be reason to stop your daily caffeine fix. Old muscles can benefit from a caffeine lift too.

A little goes a long way

Before you percolate your third cup of coffee – you need to remember, retirement age does slow down a few other vital bits of you.

Your ability to process chemicals slows down too. The exact extent of the slow down depends on what the enzymes in your liver are up too, as well as how efficiently your kidney is filtering the blood that is passing through.

So if you’ve hit retirement age – you probably won’t need to consume, quite as much coffee, to get that caffeine boost.

NOTE : The same principle applies to most meds – older folks often need lower doses. If a med is making you feel awful, it might be worth chatting to your physician about adjusting the dose.

Too much will have you swinging from the ceiling

Caffeine is one of those chemicals which health gurus love to pick on, because too much really isn’t that good for you.

You do have to get the dose right – the only way to “get the dose right”, is to experiment, to find out what works for you. Some general guidelins, drink it early in the day, so you don’t end up with your muscles and your brain twitching, late into the night, when you’re trying to sleep.

HINT : If you hit an energy slump in the mid-afternoon – skip the caffeine fix and try a protein snack instead.

 Caffeine boosts power for elderly muscles - press release from Society for Experimental Biology

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Further reading

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Caffeine going down the drain to stimulate the fishes Lubricate those joints with a daub of fish oil to prevent osteoarthritis Muscle building for the testosterone challenged

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  1. By » Blog Archive » Round up 9 July – 13 July on July 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

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