Exercise and opioids: What to know before you work out


You may not even realize that your medications might interfere with your exercises. Because most don’t. So you might have bench-pressed a little too hard at the gym the other day, and now your back is hurting like crazy. So you pop an opioid pill because it has always helped you with pains and aches.


However, now that the opioid is in your system, you might want to hold off doing those exercises for some time. Why? Because opioids can interfere with the functioning of your organs. Check out our take on exercise and opioids: what to know before you work out.

Exercise and opioids


What are Opioids?

Opioids are substances, compounds, or drugs that resemble an opium or morphine-like effect that acts on the receptors. Medically, they’re used for pain relief, especially chronic headaches, and backaches by patients recovering from surgery. They also treat severe pains associated with cancers and/or extreme injuries.

Types of Opioids

Opioids go by several names, but each has an opium-like compound as its core ingredient. These are prescribed and/or administered by the doctor for treating various pain levels, depending on the patient and their tolerance. Some types of opioids are,

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxymorphone

How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids attach to a protein called opioid receptors on nerve cells in the spine, brain, gut, and other organs. When this happens, opioids wall pain signals that travel from the body to the brain via the spinal cord. Unfortunately, while opioids can successfully ease pain, they pose a risk and can be dangerously addictive, especially when patients are using them to treat chronic pain over a long period.

What Are Its Side Effects?

Opioids can have several potential side effects when taken by the patient; some of them include,

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Acute constipation
  • Rapid and sudden mood swings

Some more serious side effects that can potentially become life-threatening are,

  • Heart-rate is slowed
  • Breathing is challenged, shallow and irregular breathing causing hypoxia, where the brain does not receive enough oxygen
  • Loss of consciousness

Opioids can help develop addiction in some patients, especially if you’ve been taking them for a long period. You might feel like the prescribed doses aren’t enough and want to take more, developing an addiction. Opioid addiction can quickly become seriously dangerous and fatal. More than 90 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.

If you’re located in Denver and are suffering or someone you know and care about is suffering from opioid addiction, contact Denver subs doctor for assistance on how to deal with and help an opioid addict.


Exercise and opioids: What to know before you work out

Exercise is essential when it comes to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. Whether you want to stay in shape, are recovering from surgery, or want to manage and relieve some pain, regular exercise helps you achieve all that!

So if you just have to get that adrenaline rush, you may not want to skip out on your routine, even with chronic pain and on opioids. But here’s why you need to pump those exercising brakes. As mentioned before, opioids can cause changes in vital organs such as the heart or brain. Let’s take a closer look at those changes,

  • The Heart: Exercising increases heart rate and blood flow in the body. However, opioids can slow the heart rate and affect breathing, So it can be risky if you choose to exercise on opioids.
  • The Lungs: Opioids affect breathing, making it shallow and irregular. And it suppresses coughing, which can cause more congestion in your chest as you may want to drain your sinuses during exercise.
  • The Bones: Opioids can stunt bone development, making bones fragile and thinner over time. So activities such as running can make you prone to breaking or fracturing your bones. And heavy weight lifting can be detrimental.
  • Less Stamina: Because opioids slow your heart rate and affect breathing, less oxygen reaches your muscles, and you have low endurance. You will tire easily and won’t be able to put in the work as you normally would.
  • Constipation, Nausea, and Emotional Changes: Opioids affect muscle contraction when food passes through the colon, which makes digestion difficult. It makes you nauseous and can cause rapid mood swings, making it difficult for you to feel motivated to work out.


We hope you found this article useful and informative. If you’re a gym rat but considering opioids to treat a serious pain issue, make sure to contact your doctor to find out what’s best for you. Also, if you are battling an opioid, or know someone who is, understand that you can ask for help and be helped.


1. How Can You Take Opioids Safely?

Ans: Opioids can help you manage and alleviate pain, but since they are a potentially risky drug, it is imperative that if you’re prescribed an opioid medication, you take it with as much safety and precaution as possible.

The first thing you can do is take an opioid only and only under a doctor’s supervision. Don’t start an opioid treatment just because you’ve seen somebody talk on Instagram about how it helped them ease their pains. Instead, always take any and every medication after consulting your physician. And as for opioids, you must ask your doctor about their potential side effects and how to deal with them.


2.  How Do I Deal With Pain Naturally Without Using Opioids?

Ans: While some pains need to be treated with certain opioid-type medications, you don’t always need an opioid to be a part of your effective pain management plan. Here are some natural ways you can manage your pains, remember to consult your doctor before trying anything,

  • Low-impact exercises are crucial to ease pain and aches; try exercises according to your ability and endurance.
  • Therapeutic practices such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and deep tissue massages can also help you relieve some pain.
  • Frequent walks or some light cardio on your home treadmill can also help manage the intensity of your pains and discomfort.

Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is a blogger and writer who expresses her ideas and thoughts through her writings. She loves to get engaged with the readers who are seeking for informative contents on various niches over the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community.

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