Health & Body
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How can I wean myself off my coffee fix without experiencing headaches and crankiness that will disrupt my rehearsal process? —Lauryn

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Need a caffeine boost before class? Think twice before you grab that can of cola. A recent study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice shows that too much cola consumption can weaken muscles—the last thing a dancer wants to hear. Reach for tea to get out of that afternoon slump, and leave the diet coke in the vending machine.

Are you an energy drink fiend? You might want to think twice before getting your next fix. On Monday, the FDA announced that it was investigating five deaths and a heart attack that were allegedly caused by caffeine toxicity after drinking Monster Energy.

 

Caffeine isn't typically dangerous. In fact, it can even be helpful for dancers! But when it's consumed in excessive amounts or combined with additional herbs, like in energy drinks, caffeine can have harmful side effects, from insomnia to anxiety to heart problems.

 

The easiest way to stay safe is to get your caffeine from natural sources: coffee and tea. And cut yourself off at three cups of coffee or six cups of tea per day.

We've talked about the benefits of caffeine many times before. It can boost your short term memory and improve your physical performance. But drinking coffee has always come with a warning: Just a few cups can lead to dehydration.


New studies, though, might change all that. Researchers have found that moderate coffee consumption (four or fewer cups a day) may actually hyrdate enough to count toward your daily fluid intake. Should you sip on a cup of joe between barre exercises? Probably not. But don't feel guilty about that pre-class Starbucks.

We all know that a cup of coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost during a long day of dance. And several studies from the past few months have reiterated that caffeine can improve athletes' performance in endurance activities. According to research from St. Mary's University in the UK, the thought is that caffeine increases the frequency or size of neural transmissions and helps to suppress pain.

However, guzzling too much joe can lead to a host of side effects that you won't want to deal with. In some people, even small amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety, sleeplessness and restlessness. And many brands of coffee have much more caffeine than the average 100 mg per cup. So while coffee might help you power through that long rehearsal, it's still no substitute for taking care of your body in other ways, like staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and eating well.

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