5 Ways that Drug Use Affects Exercise

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The prevalence of drug use in the United States for the past years has been alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides us with a recent drug surveillance report. About 18% of Americans aged 12 and older, estimated to be 48,501,000 persons, have reported illicit drug use and misuse. Advances in science and technology have shown us that these drugs have harmful effects on our bodies.

Just like other diseases, addiction to drugs can disrupt the normal and healthy functioning of our organ systems. This can cause serious harmful effects especially if it is left untreated. The good thing is there are various treatments available. There are also ways to protect and prevent your loved one from turning to drugs.

Different drugs affect the body in different ways and each individual reacts to these effects in various ways. There are about 10 categories of drugs that are commonly abused.

These are:

  1. Tobacco
  2. Alcohol
  3. Cannabinoids
  4. Opioids
  5. Stimulants
  6. Club Drugs
  7. Dissociative Drugs
  8. Hallucinogens
  9. Other Compounds
  10. Prescription Medications

What Happens to the Body When You Exercise?

As defined by the World Health Organization, exercise is a physical activity that requires you to spend energy which is planned, repetitive, and structured, with the purpose of improving or maintaining your fitness. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. You can get many benefits when you exercise – from improving your fitness, sleep, mood, and mental health to reducing the risk of acquiring many chronic diseases.

When you exercise, your body will undergo a number of biological changes that will cause various effects from your head to your toe.

  1. Muscles – exercising uses glucose and ATP to contract your muscles for movement. In order to supply the needed ATP, the body will require more oxygen to create them. This will result in an increase in breathing as the heart will start pumping more blood to your muscles.
  1. Heart – As mentioned above, exercising will require more oxygenated blood to your muscles. This will increase your heart rate so as to provide the demand.
  2. Lungs – When we exercise, our lungs bring the oxygen into our body to provide the needed energy. It also removes carbon dioxide which is the waste product when we produce energy.
  3. Brain – The brain is the most important part of the body, as it produces and

controls every action, thought, feeling and memory. When we exercise, the brain controls our coordination and movement, maintains our body temperature, and allows us to stay alert while exercising.

How does Drug Use Affect Exercise?

Aside from the risk of addiction, taking drugs before exercising can cause serious harm to its user.

  1. Drugs affect your breathing.

Drugs such as Central Nervous System depressants including barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives, hypnotics or tranquilizers, slow down the central nervous system which can affect your heart rate and breathing. Heroin, codeine, and opium are reported to slow down breathing and narrow the airways. Cannabis can reduce the capacity of the lungs. Lung capacity is the maximum amount of air that we can hold in. When our body doesn’t have enough oxygen due to slow breathing or low lung capacity, our muscles will not have enough ATP to perform what it is supposed to. Lactic acid will start building up in the muscles and will cause pain and cramps.

  1. Drugs increase your heart rate.

Some drugs may also cause an increased heart rate. These include stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, as well as cannabis and nicotine. An increased heart rate can put excessive stress on your heart. Cocaine can also cause abnormal heart rhythm which can cause angina and heart attack.

  1. Drugs disrupt your motor activity.

Performing exercise requires you to undergo physical movement. It is important that your movements are coordinated to avoid injuries. Alcohol, cannabis, opioids, inhalants, GHB, PCP and analogs can cause loss of coordination. Depressants will reduce your motor activity while stimulants will increase them which will increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

  1. Drugs affect your senses.

Alertness and concentration are required when you are exercising. Any wrong movement can cause you injuries. Some drugs such as depressants, alcohol, cannabis, and opioids can cause you to react slowly. Stimulants can cause increased energy which can affect your mental alertness making you lose focus on what you’re doing. Hallucinogens can alter your perceptions which could disrupt your sight and sounds, thus causing accidents. Depressants and alcohol can also make you feel numb. If you acquire any injuries, you might not notice them which could become serious if treatment is delayed.

  1. Drugs can affect your behavior.

Psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, cannabis, heroin, and ecstasy can affect your mood. These may dampen your mood and cause you to lose the motivation to exercise.

Drug Use and Athletes

Whether you’re an avid sports fan or just a casual audience, you might have seen or heard about some scandals or reports about athletes using drugs. Most of them believe that using drugs can enhance their performance. Some of them also turn to drugs to deal with stress and pressure. Others have mental illness and turn to drugs to relieve them of pain and make them feel better. But these drugs cause more harm than good. Most of them have ruined their careers due to their addiction. Luckily, there are treatments such as the dual diagnosis treatment to provide athletes and other individuals with a way for recovery.

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