A doctoral student in kinesiology at the University of Georgia has written a study that brings some potentially good news for athletes who drink coffee: it may increase athletic performance, specifically endurance.
According to an article published by the UGA News Service, Simon Higgins, along with his co-authors Richard Lewis and Chad Straight, reviewed hundreds of articles about caffeinated-coffee and found nine that described randomized control trials using coffee to improve endurance. So while it’s not a subject that has been widely researched, the indications thus far are promising.
Following his review, Higgins has concluded that “between 3 and 7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of caffeine from coffee increased endurance performance by an average of 24 percent.” Higgins also notes that coffee may provide the same benefits as caffeine pills, despite the common belief that pills are stronger.
In general, caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in the world, and its health effects have been studied for decades. Scientists know that maximum absorption into the bloodstream takes place in about an hour, and that the positive effects include increased mental awareness and physical energy. Because of various chemicals in coffee, there remains a mystery as to how coffee delivers caffeine to the body and how coffee may truly benefit athletic performance.
The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee will vary depending on the type of beans and preparation used, therefore results will also vary, especially as athletes experiment having coffee before endurance activities to determine the impact it has on their own personal performance.
However, for those who love coffee, Higgins’ study gives us hope that sipping that first cup of the day very well may help us do more than get our brains in gear.