Friday, September 18, 2009

Coffee eases pain

Caffeine eases the muscle pains of exercising, new research shows, suggesting coffee might literally be a brew that promotes health.

University of Illinois researchers found that caffeine intake is associated with pain reduction in both young men who take in lots of caffeine and also in young men who don't.

They signed up 25 fit, college-aged men to take part in experiments that required them to exercise. Some were regular caffeine users -- drinking the equivalent of four cups of coffee a day on average -- while others weren’t used to consuming much if any Joe.

The volunteers completed an initial exercise test on a stationary cycle to test for maximal oxygen consumption. Then they returned for two monitored, high-intensity, half-hour exercise sessions. Each session was separated by a week. The men were asked to refrain from caffeine, alcohol, and exercise prior to the testing days.

For one testing session, the men were given a placebo pill an hour prior to the high-intensity exercise. For the other session, men were given a caffeine pill (with the same amount of caffeine in 2.5 to 3 cups of coffee) prior to exercise.

The researchers, from the University of Illinois, questioned the men at regular intervals about their perceptions of quadriceps muscle pain, while they collected data on oxygen consumption, heart rate, and work rate.

The researchers found a statistically significant reduction in quadriceps muscle pain after giving the caffeine compared to the placebo pill. Both men accustomed to consuming caffeine and those who were not habitual caffeine drinkers demonstrated reduced pain with caffeine ingestion prior to exercise testing.

The study appears in the April edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

How Does Caffeine Reduce Muscle Pain?

Robert Motl, PhD, one of the researchers and a former competitive cyclist, says it’s become increasingly common for athletes to consume a variety of substances that include caffeine, motivated by “the notion that it will help you metabolize fat more readily.”

But that idea isn’t supported by compelling research, he says.

Motl, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says he had found in earlier research that caffeine affects a system in the brain and spinal cord involved in pain processing, which led him to speculate that it could reduce pain.

“What we saw [in this study] is something we didn’t expect,” he says in a news release. “Caffeine-naive individuals and habitual users have the same amount of reduction in pain during exercise after caffeine.”

More research, he says, might answer the question of whether a reduction in pain could result in an improvement in performance of athletes.

“If you go to the gym and you exercise and it hurts, you may be prone to stop doing that because pain is an aversive stimulus that tells you to withdraw,” he says. “So if we could give people a little caffeine and reduce the amount of pain they’re experiencing, maybe that would help them stick with that exercise.”


News release, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gliottoni, R. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, April 2009.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Strenghten your quads

In an article on MedScap News - "Quadriceps Strength Linked to Lower Risk for Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis"

"Knee...OA (Osteoarthritis) is a major public health concern worldwide and one of the foremost causes of chronic disability in older adults," write Neil Segal, MD, MS, from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and colleagues. "There is evidence that muscle dysfunction is involved in the pathogenesis of knee OA."

Plain language - strengthen those quads if you want to keep your knees safe and sound

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Saving calories and fuel

Bcycle is modeled after the Paris experiment but apparently a partnership between Humana Health insurance and Trek (the bike company)

A bike is my key transport around the city - and I thought this was the coolest idea I've seen in a long time.

More fun and healthier than photoelectric cells on your roof. I haven't done the ROI calculation for self service bikes in the city versus photo cells or green roofs but my guess is that once you factor in health savings - it's a big win.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pain is temporary quitting is permanent

I am recovering from a badly pulled tendon in my left leg - so I'm getting back into shape - riding about 30-40'/day this week and ramping up gradually, using every 4th week for recovery. The plan has worked in the past - no reason it won't work this time. I enjoy riding and I don't have anything to prove to anyone.

I recently discovered a homeopathic cream for inflamed muscles called Arnica. You can buy it in the Israel Superpharm chain.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The day is short and the work is long...

The day is short, and the work is great,
and the laborers are lazy, and the reward
is great, and the Master of the house is
impatient. - Ethics Of The Fathers Ch. 2

I had an first thing in the morning meeting with a prospect yesterday, so I missed my big ride. After some navel-gazing, I decided to stay with the plan, so I did my regular 1 hour ride from Modiin thru Ben Shemen forest up the hill towards Neot Kdumim. It's pleasant and not challenging, mostly white trails and suitable for interval training.

I'm signed up for the road ride, but I'm training off-road. People tell me it's good and bad - good for stamina but bad because you cant do focussed interval and hill-climbing training. After a lot of shopping around, I found a second-hand, almost brand-new Merida 904 road bike for a price that won't (I hope...) get me divorced, I'm supposed to get it tomorrow, the LBS is gonna put on SPD clipless pedals that will fit my MTB shoes and a compact crank with a 50/34 gear ratio that should help out with climbing. Stay posted!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Man is it hot today..

This Sunday I have an early morning meeting and I won't be able to do my planned 5 hour ride. Shucks. So, I left this morning at 6:00 and climbed the hill thru Mevo Horon to the beginning of the big climb to Neve Ilan, down to Shaar Hagai and thru Derech Nof Dromit thru Park Canada to Latrun - took about 2 1/2 hours. The sunrise is at 5:20 and it was stunning riding thru the fields of Mevo Horon and seeing flocks of birds just take off as soon as I rode by. Almost got stopped by a cow going up the hill. At 8:30, I stopped for a coffee break at the Latrun gas station by the Armored Corps Memorial.

I was drinking my coffee, eating raisins, walnuts and generally minding my own business when a guy in a riding shirt and shorts asks if he can sit down, looking at my bike (a Scott Racing Elite) and commenting that "he never did get into that". I asked what was "that" and he said mountain biking.
Well, did we have a lot to talk about, road and mountain biking, hiking the Israel Trail and how Israelis need to be a lot more modest. Hmm - that's a thought isn't it!

Turns out his name is Gadi Doron, he's the Internal Audit manager at the Israeli Police which sparked another round of conversation about operational risk and audit.

Almost an hour later, we exchanged phone numbers, emails and I went back to work but by 9:30 it was so hot, I abandoned my original plan to ride out to Tel Gezer and back and set out to return to Modiin cross-country. Took 1 1/2 hours and it was sweltering hot; I had to stop every so often just to wipe of the sweat.

I dunno - the weatherman said it was gonna be cooler today - maybe in his office, but not out in the fields between Shaalavim and Modiin!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

No news is great news or "Cross Dressing in Lebanon"

One of the best things of riding (road OR off-road) is being out of touch with radio/TV/Web. I listened to the news Sunday afternoon and then again today; every time I here something about our Prime Minister - Ehud Olmert, my first thought is "Hey, hasn't this guy resigned yet?"