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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can Coffee Help You Get in Shape?

Coffee Benefits

If you’re planning on using exercise to get yourself in shape for summer, you might want to drink a couple of cups of coffee first. In a study recently released, researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens found that the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee cut exercise-induced muscle pain in half while aiding in weight loss.

The group studied nine college-aged women who were given caffeine or placebo at 24 and 48 hours after performing what is called eccentric exercise. The two intensities of exercise tests were actually designed to cause soreness in the subjects’ thigh muscles, or quadriceps. It is interesting that the harder the women exercised, the more effective was the caffeine at relieving their muscle pain. Those who consumed caffeine one hour prior to the more difficult exercise test had 48% less pain than the placebo group, while the women who consumed caffeine prior to the less difficult test had 26% less pain than the placebo group.

The authors wrote: “Eccentric exercise occurs when skeletal muscles produce force while being lengthened. For example, the biceps brachii muscles act eccentrically when a cup of coffee is lowered from the mouth to a tabletop.

This experiment found that caffeine (equal to approximately 2 cups of brewed coffee) could produce a large reduction in pain resulting from eccentric exercise-induced, delayed-onset muscle injury. This finding may improve the quality of life of individuals who experience skeletal muscle pain after engaging in unaccustomed, eccentrically biased exercise.”

According to Dr. Victor Meridakis, “If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program…. but you have to apply some common sense and not go overboard.”

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