Take two cups and call me in the morning
- January 19, 2007 2:52 PM |
- By Peter Hadzipetros
Ah, caffeine. Wouldn't start a day without it. Helps chase away the sleepies and ease you into your day. It's Canada's drug of choice: as many as 80 per cent of us will have some caffeine at some point during every day of our lives.
While the medical experts agree that too much caffeine can do bad things to you (disturb your sleep, leave you anxious, jittery, restless and play with your heartbeat), an increasing number of studies are showing that it may be beneficial.
Coffee might dramatically decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, may reduce the risk of Parkinson's Disease and may help premature babies get through their first days of life.
Now another study's come along that says caffeine may be just the thing to ease post-workout pain.
Not just any workout. But those tough muscle-beating efforts like running downhill or lowering a weight during a bicep curl. Those types of movements involve "eccentric contraction" of the muscles, which means your muscle is exerting a force while it's being lengthened. You won't feel sore right after the workout. But you'll come down with delayed-onset muscle soreness — a day or two later.
The study looked at the effects of a caffeine supplement on delayed muscle pain in nine young women. Overall, they reported less pain in the days following their workout when they took a supplement, which contained about the same amount of caffeine as two cups of coffee.
Caffeine blocks the activity of a chemical in your body called adenosine. It's why caffeine can make you feel more alert. Adenosine can also activate pain receptors in body cells, but if its activity is blocked, you won't feel as much pain.
The study's authors aren't ready to advise exercisers to down a jug of java before every hard workout. It's a matter of balance, they say. You don't want nausea, heart palpitations and dizziness to hit you before you hit the elliptical.
The study, by the way, was published in The Journal of Pain, which, oddly enough, is what I call my marathon training log. Except it's not peer reviewed.
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