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  • Betablockers and exercise

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    Old 04-03-2021, 01:44 PM   #1
    ittiandro
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    Betablockers and exercise

    I am 79 and I exercise regularly. Typically, I run 6 km three times a week, in addition to biking and windsurfing. In winter, I train on an elliptical machine. I try to work out as much as possible outside the “comfort “zone, within the limits of my age, of course.

    Based on my experience, I’d like to make a few observations regarding the effects of certain commonly prescribed drugs on athletic performance.

    Currently, I have been on a betablocker (Metoprolol, 2x 25 mg/day) for three years, following one isolated episode of A Fib.
    Before going on Metoprolol, according to the age charts, my suggested h.r at 80% of my maximum capacity was about 112 bpm, but, no doubt because of my excellent cardio conditioning , this pace felt ridiculously low, almost like walking, for effective cardio vascular training. Because of this, I used to train at a faster pace, about 130-135 bpm, with occasional peaks to 140-145 bpm.

    After going on Metoprolol, not only did my rest h.r. substantially drop to about 60 bpm, which was expected, but it also reached a ceiling at 115-120 bpm for the same effort level of before , with the same resistance setting and the same duration on the elliptical machine.

    All this was expected, but I am also surprised that with such an artificial, chemically induced, lower pulse caused by Metoprolol, I can now easily push my Watts expenditure well beyond 60-65 Watts, even to 80-85 Watts. This seems to indicate that Metoprolol, contrary to a commonly held opinion has somehow improved my cardio efficiency.

    I have had a similar also with Metformin, a drug that is supposed to treat insulin resistance. I was and still am at the pre-diabetic stage, but my doctor prescribed it about three years ago as a precaution and, here too, I noticed an effect similar to that of Metoprolol, i.e. an improved physical performance.
    In fact, in the past, on the same jogging track I have been using for years, my heart rate would always rise to the strain zone after three or four lapses ( approximately 1 mile) , even at the best of my training. I had then to stop to catch my breath.

    Surprisingly, a week or two after going on Metformin, I was doing 10 lapses, even though I had stopped my usual running routine for about three weeks as I had gone on vacation !

    The only explanation I could come up with was that Metformin had somehow improved the glucose absorption by the cells, therefore making more oxygen ( =energy) available to the body..This was confirmed by my cardio watch showing a significantly lower pulse and calories count.

    I spoke to my GP. She said that I was perhaps right, but there is no clinical evidence, because not enough clinical studies have been conducted regarding the effects of Metformin on physical performance.

    It would be interesting to know if, short of a medical opinion, which may not be easy to find in a Forum, other people have had the same experience.

    Thanks

    Ittiandro

     
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    Old 04-03-2021, 03:19 PM   #2
    aveas
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    Re: Betablockers and exercise

    Interesting. I have never taken those two drugs, so I cannot make a similar observation. However, I suppose it is worth researching.

     
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    Old 04-03-2021, 03:53 PM   #3
    aveas
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    Re: Betablockers and exercise

    I did a brief search, and came across a Pub Med article. It ended with:

    "the ability to perform athletic events requiring high levels of motor control under emotional stress but not high levels of aerobic or anaerobic energy release, is probably increased during beta-blockade."

    So I suppose that if one has an emotional condition, beta blockers can help with physical performance. I, for one, could possibly benefit from such use. However, I am already on three different drugs, so I don't want to push it.

     
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    Old 04-03-2021, 05:24 PM   #4
    ittiandro
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    Re: Betablockers and exercise

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aveas View Post
    I did a brief search, and came across a Pub Med article. It ended with:

    "the ability to perform athletic events requiring high levels of motor control under emotional stress but not high levels of aerobic or anaerobic energy release, is probably increased during beta-blockade."

    So I suppose that if one has an emotional condition, beta blockers can help with physical performance. I, for one, could possibly benefit from such use. However, I am already on three different drugs, so I don't want to push it.
    nks

    The author of the article explicitly holds the view that beta blockers are not effective in physical activities requiring aerobic or anaerobic work, which is exactly what ordinary physical exercise ( running, treadmill, elliptical machines, etc) is all about.

    My experience tells me otherwise, but I can easily imagine that, as you say, beta-blockers are good in situations of stress, because the suppression of adrenaline offsets some of the common and unwelcome responses to stress, like anxiety, sweating or tremors when facing situations perceived with fear or apprehension, like, for some, public speaking.

    If there ever was a shaky handed ...sharpshooter( which I doubt!) a good dose of beta-blocker would certainly steady his hand and possibly save his/her life.

    Thanks for your input

    Ittiandro

     
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