Coffee May Enhance Exercise Endurance

First Posted: Dec 30, 2015 12:43 AM EST

Now there's another reason to have a cup of coffee; in addition to a long list of health benefits, a new study shows that it can boost endurance during exercise.

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that coffee consumption increased endurance performance by an average of 24 percent.

"While there is a lack of high-quality research on coffee as a source of caffeine, there is an abundance of research on pure caffeine," said Simon Higgins, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, in a news release. "There's a perception that coffee won't give you the same benefits as pure caffeine. New research could mean that athletes could have a cup of coffee versus taking a pill."

During their research, the study authors analyzed nine studies that examined the effects of regular coffee. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary from 75 mg - 150 mg, depending on variety and how it's made.

Researchers looked at participants who either rode a bike or ran after drinking coffee--after which, the participants exercised vigorously.

Findings showed that coffee drinkers showed more exercise improvements in endurance when compared to counterparts; this was observed in five of the nine studies. In three of six studies, researchers also found that coffee helped reduce perceived exertion.

However, researchers caution that more studies will be needed before they can determine if drinking coffee could one day be recommended to athletes for boosting endurance.

The study is published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

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