People of all ages and fitness levels participate regularly in aerobic-dance bench stepping (ADBS) to increase fitness and control body weight. Any reasonable method for enhancing the experience or effectiveness of ADBS would be beneficial. This study examined the acute effects of a single dose of caffeine on physiological responses during ADBS in women. When compared with a placebo, neither a 3- nor a 6-mg/kg dose of caffeine altered physiological responses or rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in 20 women (age 19–28 y) of average fitness level, not habituated to caffeine, while they performed an ADBS routine. Since neither dose of caffeine had any effect on VO2, Vco2, minute ventilation, respiratory-exchange ratio, rate of energy expenditure, heart rate, or RPE during ADBS exercise, it would not be prudent for a group exercise leader to recommend caffeine to increase energy cost or decrease perception of effort in an ADBS session. Furthermore, caffeine ingestion should not interfere with monitoring intensity using heart rate or RPE during ADBS.
Ahrens, Lloyd, and Walker are with the Dept. of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, and Crixell, the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666.