We compared the influence of caffeine on physiological responses to exercise between boys and men. Fifty-two participants (26 boys and 26 men) participated in a double blind, randomized, double crossover study. Each participant received the caffeinated (5 mg/kg) drink (CAF) and placebo (PL) twice each on 4 separate days. One hour after drink consumption preexercise heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were measured. Then while the participants rode stationary cycle ergometers at two different exercise intensities, HR, BP, and oxygen consumption (VO2) were measured. Blood pressure was not significantly affected by CAF, although on average it was always higher in boys for diastolic BP (3 mmHg) and systolic BP (3–4 mmHg) and men for diastolic BP (2–3 mmHg) and systolic BP (1–6 mmHg) both at rest and during exercise. HR was significantly (p < .05) lower at rest, 25W and 50W in CAF versus PL in boys, with no change in adults. During exercise, VO2 and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were not different in CAF versus PL in either group. In conclusion, metabolism is not affected by a moderate caffeine dose in children or adults. The same dose has a similar effect on BP in both groups. The effect on HR was different, however, with a significant (p < .05) lowering in children in CAF versus PL, with no adult effects.
The authors are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Dept. of Kinesiology, Harding University, Searcy, AR.