What are they? This group of medications can also be referred to as beta-adrenergic blocking agents. They are used to treat conditions such as 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 directly clashes with one of the effects of exercise: an increased heart rate. “This 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.”
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 if a beta blocker is absolutely necessary. “In some cases it is, and in some cases there are alternatives,” he says. If it is necessary, he suggests beginning with as low a dose as possible to see if your ability to exercise is adversely affected. These are the silent signs your medication is hurting your health.