Cup of Joe Eases Exercise Pains

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/7/2009 6:16 AM   :  132 comments

For many morning exercisers, a cup of coffee is part of the pre-workout routine. It can help a person gather the energy to jump on the treadmill for a run instead of running back to bed. But according to a new study, coffee can also help lessen some of the pain of working out.

Subjects were divided into 2 groups: those who regularly consumed caffeine (equal to 3-4 cups of coffee per day) and those who rarely consumed caffeine. Both groups were put through the same workouts on a stationary bike. They were asked to describe their quadriceps muscle pain during the activity, and the results were surprising. Those who had consumed caffeine (in the form of a pill) before the workout reported less pain than those who did not. Interestingly, the 2 groups- regular caffeine users and those who don't- had similar results. Therefore, tolerance to caffeine played no role in the way it diminished pain during exercise.

So what do these results mean? At this point, it's hard to know whether or not caffeine will help improve performance. But for those people who are easily discouraged when they feel pain at the gym, caffeine might reduce that discomfort. Drinking a cup of coffee before working out could end up making someone more willing to stick with a regular exercise routine.

Do you drink coffee before a workout? Do you notice a difference in how it makes you feel? How so?


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Comments

  • 132
    On my swim nights where I typically burn 1300 calories in the pool, I treat myself to a Starbucks latte about an hour before my swim. I don't drink coffee regularly (I'm a tea drinker if anything and I don't drink soda), but I find that the caffeine gives me a boost of needed energy after work to get through such a strenuous workout and the skim milk helps fuel my tummy and my muscles and keeps me focused on the task at hand and not whether or not I'm hungry. So I definitely agree with the article! - 7/21/2010   5:36:48 PM
  • ALICOTTER
    131
    I workout before work every week day. So yes I have a coffee during by 45 min drive into the city for my 6 am class at the gym. - 7/21/2010   4:40:53 PM
  • 130
    I hate coffee, even the SMELL. - 1/21/2010   12:42:55 PM
  • 129
    i generally always have coffee before i go to the gym. im not really sure if it actually does anything, but at this point i have it in my head that if i dont get my coffee in, i'll preform poorly. - 12/21/2009   7:54:30 PM
  • 128
    I love coffee, however I don't drink it until after my workout, otherwise I am too jittery. - 11/1/2009   5:51:10 PM
  • FAITHHOPELOVETD
    127
    Woo Hoo~ that is the BEST NEWS EVER! - 10/31/2009   10:31:09 AM
  • 126
    Best news ever
    I have given up a lot of foods but I will never give up coffee. Have a cup before a workout and one afterwards. Nothing better - 10/31/2009   3:46:30 AM
  • 125
    I don't know about the effect that coffee has on my workout, but I'm glad its getting good press. I don't have to feel bad about drinking it. Woohoo! - 10/30/2009   8:04:48 PM
  • 124
    I have alway drunk coffee since I was little.can't live without.mmmmmmm coffee - 10/30/2009   11:31:15 AM
  • 123
    Before my Saturday morning muscle pump class, I try to have my cup of coffee so I'll be more inclined to put my weights up! It might just be a mental effect as a result of reading these studies, but whatever works hey? - 7/7/2009   4:03:14 PM
  • 122
    I never used to drink coffee. Now it's part of my daily ritual. Wake up, drink my coffee then start my workout. It's like clock work now. - 5/30/2009   11:39:47 AM
  • 121
    I don't think coffee helps pain or performance. It actually makes me kind of queasy if I have it before exercise, and I don't crave it after exercise. On days off or days I will be on the road for a few hours, I like to drink lots of coffee. - 5/24/2009   5:48:27 PM
  • DEVASMOM
    120
    I don't drink coffee, but I do take a caffeine pill in the mornings before going to the gym. I haven't noticed a difference in the level of pain v/s not taking the caffeine pill. What I have noticed is the increase in energy level when I do. - 5/24/2009   12:47:24 AM
  • 119
    I definitely love coffee always have it at hand...now I can tell my friends and family that it may also be beneficial. hehe - 5/11/2009   10:29:33 PM
  • 118
    I love coffee, drink of choice. It is nice to hear that it might have another benefit. - 4/28/2009   7:46:25 AM
  • 117
    I don't drink coffee in any form.....ick! - 4/18/2009   1:21:44 PM
  • 116
    Love the aroma of coffee brewing but could never drink it. Love my tea, though. - 4/17/2009   7:48:41 PM
  • 115
    I like a cup or two of coffee in the am, like the aroma when it,s perking and love the taste.
    I drink an occasional citrus green tea.... - 4/16/2009   10:30:25 AM
  • 114
    I'm not a coffee or tea drinker, and since the gastric bypass (11/07), I've given up all carbonated drinks (including caffeinated drinks). I can honestly say that I don't need caffeine to do my workout in the morning. Just give me an iPod full of ZZ Top and I'm off and running! - 4/14/2009   4:52:12 PM
  • 113
    I have to have my coffee.. I do not feel like i am alive with out it LOL !!!! - 4/13/2009   12:16:06 PM
  • 112
    Yes I do drink coffee before my workout but not for any reason other than I like coffee. If this research is true, all the better. - 4/13/2009   5:59:46 AM
  • 111
    I'm not so sure ingesting a stimulant like caffeine is such a good idea prior to a workout. While coffee gives most people a temporary pick me up, it is actually a diuretic and depletes the body of potassium, which is why some coffee drinkers develop a habitual habit. They'd be a lot better off substituting some of that coffee with a banana or an orange! - 4/12/2009   12:40:50 AM
  • JESSICACANCER
    110
    Jibbie49, I'd be careful with the Yerba Mate if you're avoiding caffeine. It contains xanthines which simply put are the same as caffeine. The content varies but is similar to a cup of coffee.

    I drink coffee sometimes but never for the caffeine. - 4/11/2009   2:44:01 PM
  • 109
    I don't like coffee and usually keep my teas decaf. too much caffeine keeps me awake and makes me a little wacky. What little pain I have from exercising can usually be relieved with a hot shower. - 4/11/2009   1:12:14 PM
  • 108
    P.S. Just thought - maybe what I have described is part of caffeines stimulant effect.
    BTW - this is a known effect of caffeine, when I read about it, it was a penny dropping moment. - 4/11/2009   5:21:32 AM
  • 107
    Caffeine. The big dilema. Is it good or is it bad?
    I am not addicted to caffeine. I can go days, weeks or months without. I do not find that it has any stimulant effect on me either.
    I don't like coffee and I prefer green teas or tisanes over regular black tea.
    My problem with caffeine is 'hallucinations' - nothing serious, but I have a very vivid imagination and when I've consumed caffeine I start to see things more vivdly. You know - shapes in clouds (I've seen Santa in his sleigh ride across the night sky at Christmas). I prefer to avoid caffeine. - 4/11/2009   5:19:23 AM
  • 106
    This is particularly interesting after just reading how coffee before a w/o (on here) is bad because it effects oxygen getting to your heart.????? what are we to believe.. - 4/10/2009   11:51:33 PM
  • 105
    I get my caffeine from Diet Coke . . . and think it does the same thing. Any opinions? - 4/10/2009   5:20:31 PM
  • 104
    My gym has a coffee lounge. I thought that was strange--now I know why it's there. The things I learn on this site! - 4/10/2009   4:04:09 PM
  • 103
    ohh, thank to the person who wrote about the Army experience- I'm going to have some coffee before my timing run next week and see if it's worth doing the same during my PT test! - 4/10/2009   9:46:50 AM
  • 102
    WooHoo! Another reason why coffee is not "BAD" LOL ^.^ - 4/10/2009   3:16:32 AM
  • 101
    I don't exercise in the morning, but I do drink coffee which I believes gives me the energy to run through the office. Now if the gyms offered coffee instead of sports drinks, that would be interesting! - 4/9/2009   11:23:28 PM
  • 100
    I love coffee and have some everyday, but I have never connected it with feeling more or less pain after working out. I could tell you about the considerable pain I experienced one day (back in grad school) when I inadvertently switched regular and decaf, and unknowingly went through a whole day without caffeine. But that's another story. - 4/9/2009   10:51:44 PM
  • RUN_KALIGIRL
    99
    I'm a coffee lover but not for the caffeine. I can drink it at night and it does not affect my sleep time. I have not really paid attention to how it affected my runs, but i do that today and see if there's a difference (distance/time gains and lessening of pain) - 4/9/2009   4:43:15 PM
  • 98
    You know, what interested me about reading this study is that when I was in the Army, I knew a few soldiers in my old unit that had to have their morning coffee before PT. For one, when getting up at "o'dark thirty" for it, they said they need to something to wake them up. Another thing was they felt like it helped them perform better in their running, especially when it came to PT tests. My take is that their so-called heighten performance is simply due to a caffenine buzz. Their talk never encouraged me to get a coffee pot of my own.
    For me, coffee is not one of my staple drinks. I think it's mainly b/c growing up, I wasn't allowed to have it (and I wasn't around avid coffee drinkers). I wasn't hard pressed to try coffee back then anyways, even when I moved in with other relatives that drinked coffee somewhat regularly. I didn't try it until my late teens, and never liked (the bitterness of) the taste. I soon found out to put enough cream and sugar to dull the taste of coffee, and it was good to me. Later in college, I tried flavored and iced coffee, same thing, enough cream and sugar and it was good. There were two jobs with a coffee pot section, and during that duration of those jobs were the only times I drank coffee regularly. Other than that I drank it sporadically.
    Today, I don't drink it at all due to GERD symptoms. Coffee and cafferined drinks were one of the things on the list of trigger foods, and I couldn't take the pain when just having it (and soda) sporadically, so I quit altogether. Now that my symptoms have lessen, I drink tea sometimes which doesn't bother me anymore. Maybe tea could work for me for pain lessing.
    But I think if I saw those soldiers again, (I am out of the Army and some are in other locations), I think they would use this study as another reason to have their morning coffee.
    - 4/9/2009   3:20:09 PM
  • 97
    I love coffee! I don't use it for waking up though or my workouts, just my midmorning slump after waking up early, or if i'm having a bad day,if I got up early and actually put in the work to make a cup before my workouts it would probably help me, but i try to get out the door as fast as possible in the morning becuase I avoid working out like crazy. I also love drinking coffee socially, My siblings and I have referred to coffee as "elixir of the gods" Its awesome stuff and life would be dreary without coffee. :) - 4/9/2009   2:38:09 PM
  • 96
    Now I know why I rely on it so heavily :( But I also found out it can intensify arthritis pain & interfere with Thyroid Med absorbtion! - 4/9/2009   1:57:56 PM
  • 95
    yes
    I love finding a GOOD reason to have a cup of coffee.
    How about Tea? - 4/9/2009   8:21:31 AM
  • ALBA06
    94
    not a coffe drinker. i drink green and white tea , also diet pepsi, i do need my caffine fix - 4/9/2009   5:22:39 AM
  • 93
    I love my coffee in the morning because I'm not a morning person, so that motivates me in the morning. I workout after work so the research doesn't do much for me. - 4/9/2009   12:22:30 AM
  • 92
    I've never been a coffee drinker--can't stand even coffee-flavored ice cream! I gave up Diet Coke, but would gladly go back to it if had the same effects that this study claims coffee does.

    Seriously, I can't think that this is true.....coffee? I would think it would do more harm than good. - 4/8/2009   11:55:44 PM
  • 91
    I normally drink 4 (5 oz) cups of coffee every morning, but I gave coffee up for lent. After reading this article, I'll do my morning workout after I have my coffee - 4/8/2009   11:53:06 PM
  • 90
    I have one cup of coffee when I first get up, but have never noticed any effects when exercising. Interesting findings, though. - 4/8/2009   11:25:52 PM
  • 89
    I have a cup of coffee with a bowl of oatmeal before I go to the gym. I feel more energized after I eat (and drink) something. Does anyone drink coffee the way I do? Heat a mug of skim milk, then add instant coffee and/or sugar to taste, and stir! This is a good way to get more calcium. - 4/8/2009   10:39:06 PM
  • 88
    I'd never noticed the effect of caffeine before, but then I can't remember a time when I made it to the gym without my morning coffee... - 4/8/2009   9:59:03 PM
  • 87
    Another reason to love my coffee. For those of you that don't drink coffee, you can take a caffeine pill (like No Doz). They also sell a lot of mints now that have caffeine in them. - 4/8/2009   9:24:53 PM
  • 86
    Where do people like me fit in? I'm 42 and never had a coffee in my life. I can't get past the smell.... YUCK! lol - 4/8/2009   8:41:05 PM
  • BJ5355
    85
    This study makes sense. I seem to remember something about caffeine being in excedrin which was a popular pain medication in the 1960's. - 4/8/2009   7:57:01 PM
  • 84
    This is interesting since I changed my workout routine to BEFORE coffee a few months ago after reading a Health Article here on Spark speaking of coffee causing your heart rate to accelerate if consumed before exersize, and suggesting to abstain till after working out. I did notice that cardio, and my bike, were less fun and more uncomfortable doing that. Especially my quads. I'm not sure it was pain as much as the muscles too closer to 20 minutes or longer to get warmed up and not straining, verses the average of 7 minutes when I do cardio later in my morning, particularly AFTER I've done my coffee ritual of 2 mugs. This study seems to confirm what I noticed in myself, so guess I won't feel guilty when I simply can't wait for my first mug of joe until after the bike:) Thanks - 4/8/2009   6:28:12 PM
  • 83
    Makes me wonder if the reason I can exercise better in the morning than in the afternoon is that morning cuppa! I also take a 32oz bottle of filtered water with me, and go thru a lot of it during the exercise session. No dehydration there! (The diuretic effect is quite nominal if you are a regular coffee drinker.) - 4/8/2009   6:03:43 PM

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