Caffeine Reduces Pain During Excercise

Hey all!

I thought y’all might find this interesting bit of news from Newsmax.

Stopping to smell the coffee, and to enjoy a cup of it, before your morning workout might do more than just get your juices flowing. It might keep you going for reasons you haven’t even considered.

As a former competitive cyclist, University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Robert Motl routinely met his teammates at a coffee shop to fuel up on caffeine before long-distance training rides.

“The notion was that caffeine was helping us train harder . . . to push ourselves a little harder,” he said.

The cyclists didn’t know why it helped, they just knew it was effective.

“I think intuitively a lot of people are taking caffeine before a workout and they don’t realize the actual benefit they’re experiencing. That is, they’re experiencing less pain during the workout,” Motl said.

It is becoming increasingly common for athletes to consume a variety of substances that include caffeine before competing, motivated by “the notion that it will help you metabolize fat more readily.”

“That research isn’t actually very compelling,” Motl said. “What’s going on in my mind is . . . people are doing it for that reason, but they actually take that substance that has caffeine and they can push themselves harder. It doesn’t hurt as much.”

The professor has been investigating the relationship between caffeine and physical activity since taking a slight detour during his doctoral-student days, when his work focused on exploring possible links between caffeine intake, spinal reflexes, and physical activity.

Seven years later, with several studies considering the relationship between physical activity and caffeine behind him, Motl has a much better understanding of why that cuppa joe he used to consume before distance training and competing enhanced his cycling ability.

Early in his research, he became aware that “caffeine works on the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord, and this system is heavily involved in nociception and pain processing.” Since Motl knew caffeine blocks adenosine from working, he speculated that it could reduce pain.

A number of his studies support that conclusion, including investigations considering such variables as exercise intensity, dose of caffeine, anxiety sensitivity and gender.

Motl’s latest published study on the effects of caffeine on pain during exercise appears in the April edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

“This study looks at the effects of caffeine on muscle pain during high-intensity exercise as a function of habitual caffeine use,” he said. “No one has examined that before. What we saw is something we didn’t expect: caffeine-naïve individuals and habitual users have the same amount of reduction in pain during exercise after caffeine (consumption).”

The research could prove encouraging for a range of people, including the average person who wants to become more physically active to realize the health benefits.


I thought y’all might find that interesting. 🙂

God bless and veritas supra omnis!


5 Responses

  1. See this is what I tell Loretta all the time…
    *makes mental note to reinforce my correctness*
    Caffeine obviously is a very powerful drug.
    I just read an article about the affects of caffeine last night actually. According to the article, caffeine is in fact used in a minor amount, in most pain killers. It was not recommended for anyone, but especially for young people, as due to its highly addictive properties.
    Now that I have said my piece, I will take my self off to my decaf… 😛

  2. Hmmm, Mark, you don’t like coffee, do you now? 😀

    Thanks for that interesting piece concerning caffeine. Does this speak about boiling hot coffee alone? or does it include ice coffee shake and all that? 😀

  3. This makes me feel a bit better about the 3/4 of a pot that I have downed today!!!

    Late to bed
    early to rise
    I needed coffee
    to keep open my eyes.

  4. Hey, if it’s good for physical excercise, why not mental excercise? 🙂

  5. Oh, Alyssa, I think the study is talking about real coffee, whether it be iced, hot, bean, or otherwise. 🙂

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