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One Small Change

Life Without Caffeine: Day 11

There's another unexpected side effect of giving up caffeine that's been plaguing me. Whenever I exercise lately, I feel crummy. I'm a pretty active guy, running about 20 miles per week, cycling when the weather's nice, doing ashtanga yoga, and playing basketball and baseball. When I was drinking coffee, I would normally have a couple cups and then work out. And I usually felt pretty strong. But now my legs feel dead and, even more bothersome, I'm experiencing these nagging aches and pains in different joints and body parts than I haven't felt in a long time. It's as if the fogginess that was initially in my head after abandoning caffeine has drifted into my body. I hate to admit it, but I feel physically old.

Jose Antonio, Ph.D. points out that caffeine, in addition to being a stimulant, is also a mild pain reliever or analgesic. In fact, you'll see it listed as an ingredient in many OTC pain-relief medications. Thus, I'm now feeling the minor aches that caffeine had been masking.

On the positive side, though, he says this will not last indefinitely. As with the psychological effects I encountered, this one will also fade. Eventually, I'll become less attuned to these aches and pains and be able to work through them. What I've lost for good, however, is the boost that caffeine provides for exercise – that extra bit of energy that allows you to run a little faster or push a bit harder. Unfortunately, there's no replacement for that.

And I miss that a lot. In fact, I'd say I miss that even more than my morning buzz. I've proven that I can live without that (at least for nearly two weeks now), but I'm not so sure if I can handle feeling old and achy during the very activities I pursue to make me feel young and strong. I'll have to see if this goes on.

Read Joe's next blog post: "The Perfect Recession Drink"

About The Author

Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.

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Tags: Pain, Beverages, Energy, Longevity, Caffeine