Walking stairs exercise
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Feeling jet-lagged? Don’t reach for that can of coke.

It might seem counterintuitive, but a recent study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more effective in making study participants feel energized than consuming 50 milligrams of caffeine, or about the the amount in a can of soda.

“We found, in both the caffeine and the placebo conditions, that there was not much change in how they felt. But with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous. It was a temporary feeling, felt immediately after the exercise, but with the 50 milligrams of caffeine, we didn't get as big an effect,” said Patrick J. O'Connor, a professor in the department of kinesiology at UGA College of Education, who co-authored the study with former graduate student Derek Randolph.

The study simulated workers in an office setting. Participants spent hours sitting at computers and didn’t have time for exercise during the day. For the study, some participants took capsules with 50 milligrams of caffeine, and some took placebos, or some spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs,about 30 floors total, at a regular walking pace. Sounds fun?

“A lot of people working in office buildings have access to stairs, so it's an option to keep some fitness while taking a short break from work,” said O’Connor. “You may not have time to go for a swim, but you might have 10 minutes to walk up and down the stairs.”

Travelers, like office workers, also might not have time to hit the gym to shake off their tiredness at the end of a trip. And, many guides will tell you not to nap once you get to your destination in order to adjust to your new time zone.

Taking a brisk walk up and down some stairs might be a clever and crash-free solution to keeping your adrenaline up while traveling abroad as well as keeping yourself upbeat during the work day. Plus, you’ll feel like Rocky Balboa.