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Is It Safe to Work Out While High?

The Lowdown on Exercising High

Recently FitSugar reader mamasitamalita wrote in to ask about her friend who works out while buzzed. Apparently it's more common than I thought, and it's not the only thing people are doing before hitting the gym. An anonymous reader commented

"Sometimes, every once in a while, I will get stoned before yoga or a long run — it helps me to calm down and focus on the task at hand, rather than obsessing about work or personal stresses."

So this brings up another issue. What about working out while high? Although illegal, people still smoke pot, so to find out if it's safe to light up before burning calories keep reading.

During my many years of teaching yoga, a few times students have showed up high. They do it because it makes them feel happier, and for some, makes them more focused. Medically speaking though, marijuana falls into the category of being a stimulant, a depressant, and a hallucinogen, so there's a safety issue when it comes to exercising after smoking. When you get high on pot, most people become drowsy, and since it can affect your energy levels, vision, balance, and reaction time, taking part in certain types of exercise that require awareness and coordination like biking outdoors, running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or a kickboxing class could be dangerous if you do them while high. Just like exercising while buzzed, you're increasing your risk for injury. You may not be able to move with as much accuracy and strength as you could while sober, and since pot can make you sleepy, you may not have the endurance to exercise as long either.

What's even worse, marijuana increases your heart rate by 20 to 100 percent shortly after smoking, and the effects can last up to three hours. That puts a user at risk for a heart attack, and if you escalate the heart rate even more with exercise, your risk is intensified. Smoking pot is also connected to upper respiratory problems like wheezing, bronchitis, coughing, and chronic issues like asthma and lung cancer. So not only will it affect your health, but it will also impede your aerobic capacity when it comes to doing cardio.

Getting high also leads to "the munchies," so you may feel ravenous and eat way more calories than you normally would after a workout, and will basically be undoing all your hard work.

I hate to sound like a Miss Goody Two Shoes over here, but exercising while high is like an oxymoron. So if you're doing something good for your body like going for a run or taking a yoga class, why do something that harms your body like smoking a joint?

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