When it comes to mixing exercise with medication, the latter can sometimes affect the former. Therefore, if you’re using medications, you really need to know all of their potential effects, good and bad, on you. Here’s a quick scoop on which meds could be clashing with your cardio.
This group of medications, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are used to treat high blood pressure and are also commonly prescribed for conditions such as migraines and glaucoma.
Beta-blockers lower the heart rate, which is the opposite of what exercise induces – an increased heart rate. Therefore, combing both gives your body conflicting messages, and people tend to get fatigued very quickly.
While it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about how to accommodate exercise while on beta-blockers, you should consider asking if you really need to be taking them. In some cases it is and in other cases, there are better alternatives. For example, acupuncture has been found to help some migraine sufferers. If they are necessary, you should begin with as low a dose as possible to see if your ability to exercise is adversely affected.
There are two types of pain medications: acetaminophen, which is an alternative to aspirin for pain relief, and ibuprofen, which treats swelling and inflammation as well as pain.
Pain is usually a signal of tissue injury, so overusing pain medication can be a concern. For example, if you have a sprained ankle and you take a lot of medication to get through the pain, that can be bad because the sprain won’t heal adequately and you might re-injure it.
There’s also some concern about non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil Motrin, and Aleve. These can cause fluid retention, which isn’t particularly kind on the kidneys and puts more stress on the cardiovascular system.
Firstly, if you have a sprained ankle, let your body rest and heal rather than mask the pain with medications so that you can continue exercising. If it’s a milder pain that’s afflicting you and you’re using ibuprofen or Motrin, try not to take the medication for more than a week. If you need longer pain relief, switch to an acetaminophen medication to treat it and avoid that fluid retention stress.
While there are many medications that trigger sleepiness, antidepressants are the more common ones as they alter the chemical balance in the brain to help stabilize and improve your mood. Drowsiness and fatigue are usually at their worse during the first few weeks of taking them. Furthermore, they also have the added side effect of weight gain.
There are many different types of antidepressants and if yours causes a lot of drowsiness, talk to your doctor about taking alternative antidepressants. Also, starting off with a lower dosage of a new antidepressant can help the sleepiness factor.
Drowsiness is a common side effect of antihistamines, especially older generation medications such as Chlor-Tripolon and Benadryl. Antihistamines block or decrease histamine, which is triggered by an allergic reaction such as coming into contact with pollen or animal fur. When you’re taking antihistamines your alertness can be affected. Therefore, for example, if you’re a runner and you take antihistamines that make you drowsy, you can misstep and become injured.
There are newer generations of antihistamine medications such as Alegra, Claritin, and Reactin that don’t cause the same level of drowsiness, if at all. However, if you prefer the older antihistamines, time your medication well. The older ones are usually shorter-acting, so they might last only four hours and once that drowsiness has worn off, you can exercise.