Caffeine Helps Athletes Overcome Moderate Pain

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi popularized the saying “No pain, no gain.” Increases in muscle size and strength, endurance, power and speed come from pushing harder than before, and it hurts. Coping with the pain of exercise will help you move up to the next level. Scientists from the University of Oklahoma, led by Alexander Gonglach and Christopher Black, found that caffeine helped cyclists better cope with moderate but not severe pain accompanying exercise. In exercise triggering moderate pain, caffeine (five milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight) allowed athletes to do more work, ride further, produce more power and reach higher oxygen consumptions. Caffeine had no effect on exercise performance at intensities producing severe pain. Caffeine will reduce the pain of exercise, as long as the intensity is not too great. (Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 48: 287-296, 2016)

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