Could drinking coffee help boost your exercise regime?

Over the years, athletes and keen amateur sports enthusiasts alike have looked for ways to keep performing consistently. Workout routines could include protein shakes, electrolytes or more personal choices such as coconut water. Now, researchers led by the University of Coventry have discovered that there may be a link between drinking coffee and attaining peak performance.

The research included gathering data from almost 50 amateur cyclists who had been exercising regularly for at least a year. Participants were divided into two groups depending on their coffee consumption, which ranged from one to five cups a day. Some participants were then given a cup of regular caffeine instant coffee, while others were given a non-caffeinated placebo. After an hour, both groups were asked to cycle five kilometres on a static exercise bicycle while being timed. Those who’d been drinking coffee saw an average 1.7% improvement in their performance, which could be just enough to tip the balance in a race situation. The results did not appear to be related to how much coffee participants normally drank.

This study followed on from previous research which concluded that caffeine can help alleviate fatigue and improve neurological performance. The new research, though, has been the first to concentrate on whether caffeine has any affect on the increase of capability and performance among sports people.

While the study had a relatively small number of participants, it does seem to have established a link between caffeine and improved sports performance. If you love coffee anyway, then drinking a cup before your workout could be no bad thing! (Don’t suddenly expect to turn into Usain Bolt, though.)

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