Health Up, cup and away

Up, cup and away

All those latte-sipping cyclists hobbling around your local café aren’t there only to show off the latest Lycra, research from Victoria University reveals.

We know coffee makes us more alert, but evidence now confirms it also boosts athletic ability, increasing power, strength and endurance.

Two cups in the hour before exercise can raise performance up to 16 per cent, lengthening the distance we may run or cycle while shortening the time we need to do it – in other words, letting us go faster for longer.

For those who prefer a gym circuit, the same dose may increase the number of repetitions we can manage during a set and increase the overall weight lifted.

Caffeine’s performance-enhancing effects have long been suspected by athletes, with separate research indicating around three-quarters of Olympic Games competitors were using it in 2011.

Although not currently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, caffeine remains on its monitoring program, which aims to detect patterns of misuse.

Victoria University researchers urge caution when seeking to exploit the benefits, warning high doses may cause strong side-effects such as headache, nausea or insomnia.

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