A cup of coffee before your morning workout can obviously increase your energy, but it may also decrease something: pain.
Illinois researchers recently tested caffeine’s pain-reducing potential on two groups: people who never or barely ever consume caffeine, and people who drink up to four cups of coffee per day. Before two separate 30-minute, high-intensity workouts, participants were given a placebo or a caffeine pill.
Regardless of their usual caffeine intake, the subjects reported the same reduction in muscle pain when they had taken the caffeine pill. Does that mean you can’t use aches and pains as an excuse to not exercise? We’re afraid so.
“If you go to the gym and you exercise and it hurts, you may be prone to stop doing that because pain is an aversive stimulus that tells you to withdraw,” head researcher Robert Motl, a health professor, said. “So if we could give people a little caffeine and reduce the amount of pain they’re experiencing, maybe that would help them stick with that exercise.”
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