Workout experts once viewed caffeine with a degree of skepticism, possibly because coffee and soda are known to make some people nervous and jittery, and nervous jitters are not usually associated with calm, focused performance during high-intensity sporting events. Caffeine also seems to speed up the resting heart rate, which doesn’t always benefit athletes during training or on the field. But many of these concerns have been dismissed, both by careful research and by anecdotal evidence of the positive impact of caffeine on athletic performance.
Caffeine and Endurance
It seems that caffeine doesn’t improve oxygen capacity directly, but it does allow athletes to train longer and with greater power output. Caffeine can increase speed, endurance and resistance to fatigue during extended cardio activities like races, and its effects are strongly felt at levels far below accepted standards for permissible ergogenic aids (performance enhancing substances). The benefits of caffeine typically last anywhere from 1 minute to 2 hours.
There also don’t seem to be many negatives associated with caffeine use, though its effects on strength training are less clearly documented and there’s still a lot to be learned about this mysterious substance and its impact on our overall health.
Caffeine, Exercise and Skin Cancer
Most of us have heard that exercise can contribute to disease prevention and may ward off several different types of cancer. But new studies show an interesting twist involving caffeine. It seems that exposure to both caffeine and regular exercise can help prevent harmful melanomas better than either influence can on its own. Mice exposed to both caffeine and exercise seem to fair better and show greater skin cancer resistance then mice exposed only to one or the other. Researchers are still not entirely certain why this connection exists, but in the meantime, it seems like there’s no need to pass up that pre-workout cup of coffee.