Trying to keep up with everything again, living on too little sleep, along with maintaining my run training, I came across a fun little link about the useful effects of coffee, specifically in regards to sport. University of Illinois professor, Robert Motl, has been doing some study on the effect of caffeine on pain during exercise.
Early in his research, he became aware that “caffeine works on the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord, and this system is heavily involved in nociception and pain processing.” Since Motl knew caffeine blocks adenosine from working, he speculated that it could reduce pain.
A number of studies by the U. of I. professor support that conclusion, including investigations considering such variables as exercise intensity, dose of caffeine, anxiety sensitivity and gender.
Motl’s latest published study on the effects of caffeine on pain during exercise appears in the April edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
By being able to ignore a little pain, you might be able to push your exercise a little more. The brain’s threshold on detecting pain signals may be a bit high, in my experience. The danger is that if you mask it too much, you may end up damaging your body. Pain is a way of letting you that something isn’t right. My guess, based on being both a avid exerciser and coffee drinker is that the caffeine won’t mask pretty severe pain.
Pretty sure the pain caused by too flat shoes during my last 20 miles on Saturday was not completely masked, in spite of the coffee beforehand. The danger with that is that the pain (Not sure if the brain’s awareness of this is going to effect this or not, but it would be interesting to find out.) often effects form. Exercising with bad form tends to just make things worse and increases even more the risk of injury.
I guess I can say that coffee certainly masks the pain of needing to be awake in the mornings though.