Cup of Coffee
Let’s hear it for Coffee!!! HOORAH!!!
That cup of coffee that many gym rats, bikers and runners swill before a workout does more than energize them. It kills some of the pain of athletic exertion, a new study suggests. And it works regardless of whether a person already had a coffee habit or not.
Caffeine works on a system in the brain and spinal cord (the adenosine neuromodulatory system) that is heavily involved in pain processing, says University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Robert Motl. And since caffeine blocks adenosine, the biochemical that plays an important role in energy transfer and thus exercise, he speculated that it could reduce pain.
So the researcher, a former competitive cyclist, divided 25 fit, college-aged males into two distinct groups: subjects whose everyday caffeine consumption was extremely low to non-existent, and those with an average caffeine intake of about 400 milligrams a day, the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee.
After completing an initial exercise test in the lab on a stationary bike to determine maximal oxygen consumption or aerobic power, subjects returned for two monitored high-intensity, 30-minute exercise sessions.
An hour prior to each session, cyclists — who had been instructed not to consume caffeine during the prior 24-hour period — were given a pill. On one occasion, it contained a dose of caffeine measuring 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to two to three cups of coffee); the other time, they received a placebo.
During both exercise periods, subjects’ perceptions of quadriceps muscle pain was recorded at regular intervals, along with data on oxygen consumption, heart rate and work rate.