University at Buffalo Study Examines Benefits of Caffeine on Exercise Habits

Jennifer Temple, Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Published May 31, 2013

A preliminary study by researchers at the University at Buffalo SUNY School of Public Health and Health Professions found that although trained athletes derive performance benefits from caffeine, most sedentary or lightly active adults do not like exercise more, or perceive their exertion to be less, when given caffeine. What caffeine does do, according to the study, is make them exercise for longer periods, which could increase their likelihood of achieving the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for physical activity.

The study, “Acute and chronic caffeine administration increases physical activity in sedentary adults,” was published online in Nutrition Research on May 10, 2013. Its authors are Mr. Patrick Schrader and Ms. Leah M. Panek, both graduate students, and Dr. Jennifer L. Temple, assistant professor, all from the school’s department of exercise and nutrition sciences.

“What is important about this study,” said Dr. Temple, “is that it indicates that the ergogenic (performance-enhancing) properties of caffeine are quite different for trained athletes than for sedentary adults.”

The study involved 35 subjects between the ages of 18 and 50, half men and half women, who attended eight laboratory sessions, 60 to 75 minutes in length, over the course of two weeks. All were asked to abstain from caffeine for 24 hours before each session and to refrain from engaging in physical activities on the day of their visits.