Category Archives: Energy

Does Slouching Make You Dumber?

As a kid, I was complimented specifically on my posture by some teachers, and my mom was always on me to maintain it, not to slouch. If you go to finishing schools across the country, they will talk specifically about posture and work hard on it. Kids don’t get barked at the same way, but still, it happens, and we have this idea that maybe we’ll be turned into hunchbacks. The question is, does it have other effects?

There are some who suggest that actually, being hunched may even make you dumber. There have been some who have claimed it makes you more confident and forward, meaning fake it til you make it. Bad posture and being dumber is a more recent suggestion though made by San Francisco State psychologist Erik Peper.

He says, The moment you move into a defensive body position, it’s harder for you to do abstract problem solving or think of new, creative options. He goes back to the idea of cavemen and how they functioned, naturally.

Peper goes on saying, recent evidence has linked slumping over with both a decrease in testosterone, which can impair cognitive performance, and an increase in stress hormone cortisol.

The Good Things About Energy Drinks

Is there ever a good reason to drink an energy drink these days?

We have all heard about the heart attacks and other serious medical issues associated with energy drinks, but yet we continue to drink them, full of caffeine and other stimulants along with plenty of sugar. Despite what you may think, there is a time and place for it. The primary benefit is that you can increase your energy, improve your focus, and it can help you to concentrate more effectively at the gym, office, or at home.

The first thing that you have to realize though (and it may seem obvious) is that the benefits and side effects you get are coming from caffeine. It has been well-studied, and yes, anything in excess can be dangerous. When used correctly though, it can be a good performance enhancer in many areas.

A 2014 study in Israel studied truck drivers who had an energy drink before they got on the road. Those drivers drove more accurately for extended periods of time, and they required less steering wheel corrections. When they took a 10 minute break at the 100 minute mark of a 150 minute drive, these benefits were extended even further. In other words, even if you are drinking energy drinks, a short break is still a good thing. It’s more than just the caffeine. There are other ingredients that you may want to keep in mind with your average energy drink:

  • B-Vitamins: B-vitamins, which are typically found in most, if not all, energy drinks have been found to help with energy metabolism. This can sound good, but the description can also be misleading. B vitamins are a part of the biochemical reactions in your body that produce energy in the cells, but there is no evidence that actually shows that B vitamins give you energy like caffeine does.
  • Taurine: A non-essential amino acid, taurine is typically found in meat. Taurine comes with multiple benefits, which includes health benefits for your heart. Research has shown that this part of energy drinks can actually balance the neurotransmitter in your brain, and some believe that taurine might even stave off some of the symptoms of cognitive decline that is generally associated with age.
  • Sugars and Carbs: There are some energy drinks that claim to have a sugar-free blend, in reality just replacing it with additives that imitate sugar. Unfortunately, while sugar can be damaging, you will also find that the sugar replacements can come with side effects of their own.

The major thing that many experts recommend is that you take steps to prevent overuse. A 2014 paper in Current Opinions in Psychiatry looked at the risks, and they found that if you mix energy drinks with alcohol (like a mix of Red Bull and Vodka for example), you get the greatest risk. Overuse may lead to the scary stories with death that we have heard about. When you drink an energy drink, the actual dosage of caffeine could vary between 1 shot of espresso to 5. That is something to keep in mind, and of course, monitor the way you feel in part to judge that. But if you start to feel sick, that is a major sign that you have already drunk too much.