Psychedelics and Exercise, Microdosing, and Athletics Featured Image

Adding Psychedelics to Exercise for Body and Mind

When the topic of psychedelics comes up, the conversation often heads in the direction of spirituality and expanding the mind — it is, after all, right there in the name: “psyche.” But as microdosing is increasingly popularized, and various hallucinogens are decriminalized and even legalized, the landscape in which we discuss these drugs is also expanding. 

Matt Cooper, a nutritionist and fitness trainer, says in a 2020 podcast with Third Wave that he combines the use of psychedelics in his nutritional routine when exercising to enhance the physical body as well as the mind. He tells Third Wave, “we’re starting to realize as we step out of the Western medical model, is that distinct relationship between the mind and the body… And psychedelics, then, are acting as this really interesting bridge that ties the ability to heal the mind to also an ability to heal the body.”

There seem to be direct effects on our body’s tension and stresses, as well as our serotonin levels, when ingesting even microdoses of psychedelics. It is by releasing these tensions and finding relaxation that we open our bodies up to higher levels of flexibility, strength, and overall health through exercise. These connections can be direct or indirect, as we discover that everything in our bodies is connected. 

Psychedelics and The Body 

Marijuana can be prescribed to aid diet and sleep according to Dr. Dara Huang, a physician in New York, and others researching cannabis. In micro-doses, this can lead to a commitment to a diet and recovery from an eating disorder, and a body with proper protein and caloric intake is sure to succeed when exercising at the gym or working a labour-intensive job. 

Psilocybin, the active chemical in magic mushrooms, may be useful to boost energy and get athletes “in the zone,” enhancing focus. This can indirectly lead to a better fitness routine, as psychedelic users report feeling energized during use, boosting their endurance while microdosing to fuel their work-out. 

Although the evidence around psychedelics and athletic performance is anecdotal, LSD has also been associated with a sharper focus when consumed in low doses. Dock Ellis, while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970, famously threw a no-hitter while high on LSD. He recounts, “I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher’s] glove … The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t.” 

A Clip from the 2014 film No No: A Dockumentary

Microdosing and Bio-Hacking for Your Health

Approaching your body from a holistic viewpoint, seeing the whole of one’s self (including stressors in life and roadblocks in the mind), and committing to small lifestyle changes, can lead to better overall health and motivation. Some who self-medicate by microdosing psychedelics report positive outcomes when it comes to commitments to their routines and perspective on their overarching goals, both mentally and physically. 

Cooper adds: “psychedelics also can provide a boost to your neurotransmitters, especially glutamate, serotonin, things like that, and having a proper balance of these neurotransmitters will help you show up as yourself day-to-day. And then from there, you’ll have more motivation to make changes in your own life, not to mention the changes that the psychedelics are gonna make on your nervous system and health in and of itself.”

More research on the impact of these drugs is still needed in order to continue this self-experimentation into psychedelics and physical routine. The long-term effects are still largely unknown, and macro- or microdosing should not be done without consulting a physician. The potential benefits are difficult to ignore, however, and as psychedelics are being used to heal the body as well as the mind, users are feeling not only more connected spiritually, but with their body’s points of pain and tension, as well as their physical capabilities. 

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