I'm a runner, have been since the age of 14. But, after all these years in the office, I’m ashamed to say that I’m not half the athlete I used to be. Now, when I do get a chance to make it out for a run, it’s a painful process. I could use all the non-narcotic help I can get.
According to results published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, I may be in luck. As it turns out, caffeine, the same ingredient that keeps me going after a good cup of coffee, may literally keep me running. It seems caffeine can affect the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord—responsible for processing pain.
Researchers studied a group of cyclists and found that those who were given the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee benefited from a reduction in pain during exercise. It didn’t matter if the subjects were regular drinkers or coffee newbies. This is great news for those of us who find ourselves hurting during visits to the gym!
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