Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Maureen Dunn

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Caffeine is one of the most commonly ingested supplements, as it is found in many drinks including coffee, tea, soda, and foods containing cocoa. Previous research indicates that caffeine may act as an ergogenic aid, meaning that it is a supplement that may enhance athletic performance, stamina, or recovery. However, the majority of prior studies have investigated the effects of caffeine on athletes; limited attention has been given to these potential effects in the sedentary population. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test the effect of caffeine supplementation on exercise endurance and heart rate during running in the non-athlete. A non-athlete was considered to be a person who exercises less than 150 minutes per week. All subjects participated in three trials: a familiarization trial and two experimental trials. Each trial consisted of a fifteen minute run, during which participants were asked to run at maximum effort to complete as many laps of the indoor track as possible. Heart rate was assessed manually and through heart rate monitors before, during, and after each run. Participants were asked to rate exertion using a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale at five-minute increments throughout each trial. One hour prior to each experimental trial, participants were administered either five mg/kg body weight of caffeine or a placebo using a double-blind procedure. Participants who received the caffeine in the first trial were then given the placebo for the second trial and vice versa. This study is ongoing, and results will be presented at the Hope College Research Celebration. If caffeine is shown to enhance performance in the non-athlete, this may suggest that caffeine should become a viable supplement to increase the frequency and duration of physical activity in this population.