Adderall & Running Performance

Adderall -- a drug commonly prescribed to help manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders -- is among a slew of prescription drugs commonly abused because of their perceived side-effects. Adderral is meant to increase concentration and help promote focus, but it's often erroneously used to help improve performance. Because Adderall is a methamphetamine, it should never be used as a way to help improve your running performance and endurance -- in fact, it could have dire consequences.

A man is running at sunset. (Image: EpicStockMedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Adderall Effects

On the surface, Adderall seems extremely helpful, especially when it comes to focusing on tasks, such as improving your running performance. But Adderall isn't meant to be used in such a way and it could actually be harmful for your health. Instead, Adderall is meant to calm and focus the patient. It helps to lower perceived effort, which might seem beneficial for exercise but is more dangerous than good.

Adderall and Running

Because Adderall is an amphetamine, it lowers your perceived effort while raising your heart rate. That means you'll probably be able to run longer without realizing that you've put forth the extra effort. Still, it doesn't affect that actual effort or strain placed on your body, which is why taking Adderall before a cardiovascular-heavy exercise like running is so dangerous. You could push your body harder than it's able to, resulting in injuries, cardiovascular strain and even death. The minor benefits aren't worth the risk that taking Adderall before exercise poses.

Adderall Deaths

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a 2006 review into Adderall and its effects and found that a 12-year-old girl had been on the drug for five months. She died while running, and while the autopsy found a genetic cardiac problem as part of the issue, the report didn't delve into whether or not Adderall was directly to blame. The point is to warn the public of possible deadly side-effects of exercise after Adderall.

When Taking Adderall

If you've been prescribed Adderall by your doctor to combat ADHD legitimately, it's important to talk to your doctor about incorporating healthy exercise into your routine, especially since quitting Adderall can cause weight gain. Adderall causes an increased heart rate, which could be dangerous when exercising, so your doctor might caution you to avoid exercise until the effects of the medicine wear away. This ensures you're able to gauge your body's effort and stop when you're exerting yourself too forcefully.

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