Is it dangerous to mix exercise and medication?Shutterstock
Your allergy meds always make you sleepy—so does that mean you should take them after your CrossFit class? Can you pop an aspirin before heading out for a bike ride?
When it comes to mixing medications and exercise, the former can sometimes affect the latter. “If you’re using medications, you really need to be aware of all their potential affects, good and bad, on you,” says Dr. Michael Rieder, a professor in physiology and pharmacology, medicine, and pediatrics at London’s University of Western Ontario. Here’s the scoop on which meds could clash with your cardio. Then check out the meds that pharmacists always have in their medicine cabinet.
What are they? This group of medications, also referred to as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and are also prescribed for conditions such as glaucoma, migraines, or heart conditions.
Beta-blockers tend to lower the heart rate, which is the opposite of what exercise induces—an increased heart rate. The duo “gives your body conflicting messages, and people tend to get fatigued very quickly,” says Philip Emberley, director of pharmacy innovation with the Ottawa-based Canadian Pharmacists Association. “It’s very frustrating for people.” Pay close attention to dosage recommendations if you do take pain medication.
What to do: While it’s a good idea to speak with your physician or pharmacist about how to accommodate exercise while taking beta blockers, Emberley also suggests asking: is a beta blocker absolutely necessary? “In some cases it is and in some cases there are alternatives,” he says. Acupuncture has been found to help some migraine sufferers. If it is necessary, he suggests beginning with as low a dose as possible to see if your ability to exercise is adversely affected.