For many, coffee is lifeblood. It's warm, it's stimulating, and if you know what you're doing, it tastes great. Some people even go to bed thinking about the cup they'll drink in the morning. It's a way of life — no two ways about it.
There's a sometimes healthy, sometimes vicious debate over how much is or isn't healthy for you, usually depending on how caffeinated the involved parties are at the time of the debate. A recent study of 200,000 coffee drinkers at varying levels of intake might be the most definitive evidence yet that more coffee means a lower overall risk of mortality. Even so, the black stuff isn't free from the "too much of a good thing" consideration, as with most substances that alter the mind and body. So what's the line? Is it three cups per day? Five? Ten?
If 10 cups of coffee every day seems a little excessive to you, you're probably not alone. That's how much Jaromir Jagr, who plays for the Florida Panthers of the NHL, drinks, though — at the grizzly age of 44. Sorry if you're 44 years old and don't play hockey. You're not grizzly and you still have plenty ahead of you. It's just that the second-oldest player in the NHL, Patrik Elias, isn't even 40 yet. If you consider the pounding a professional hockey player's body takes throughout the course of a season, it's insane that Jagr is still doing it at a high level well into his 40s.
If anyone can justify drinking that much coffee, though, it's him. Not only does the caffeine present in coffee give you more energy, but according to Active.com, the average improvement in performance among athletes who consume caffeine regularly is about 12 percent, especially in exercise that requires endurance as opposed to short-term exercise of eight to 20 minutes.
Jagr told The Wall Street Journal the key to his longevity as an athlete isn't just what he puts into his body, though. It's how he positions it agains his mind to "trick the brain." That means giving up something crucial to his body every year for Lent, and this year, of course, was coffee.
"I felt awful the first few days, I felt like I had no energy at all," said Jagr. "I was playing games I didn't even know I played, the first few games. But then the body got used to it."
As it turns out, the 10-a-day coffee habit was only formed after last year's Lent, which led to him kicking his five Diet Cokes per day. Will Jagr follow the same pattern and replace coffee with some other caffeine source when the holiday is over? Red Bull maybe? If he wants to keep playing hockey, he might have to.
"It's like a truck, a heavy truck," he said in reference to playing the game at his age. "When you're going, you kind of go — and fast. But once you stop, it's tough to start again."
Yeah, reading that makes us want another cup of coffee too.