The commonly held perception that marijuana users are largely sedentary is not supported by new data on young and middle-aged adults.
The cliché of stoners being couch potatoes, eating chips and watching television for hours was once what everyone thought of people who consumer marijuana. But with the medicinal benefits of cannabis becoming more widespread, and as more people, start consuming the drug, the look of the consumer has changed.
More studies are emerging, revealing cannabis users are actually likely to exercise more than people who don’t. The latest study, which was shared in the journal Preventive Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the Brookings Institution together with the University of Miami. For the study, they analyzed the association between exercise frequency and cannabis consumption within the last 30 days to observe if they had increased physical activity.
“Marijuana users are equal to or more likely to exercise than non-users,” write the authors. They add that “the commonly held perception that marijuana users are largely sedentary is not supported by these data on young and middle-aged adults.”
“As additional states legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, perhaps its impact on exercise, one of the leading social determinants of health, is not necessarily a primary concern.” Older Studies Support These Claims In 2019, a paper that was released in Frontiers in Public Health found that in states where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes, people use it either before or after a workout. Many of the participants also added that they believe cannabis helps them feel motivated for a workout, while enabling them enjoy the workout more while assisting in their recovery.
As a result, they feel motivated to exercise more frequently since cannabis use helps them recover from post-workout pain more efficiently. “Our results suggest that prior findings of cannabis users being more likely to meet official exercise recommendations may be at least partly associated with perceived impacts of cannabis co-use on enjoyment, reductions in pain and inflammation during and after exercise, and to a lesser extent motivation,” the study says.
“Furthermore, participants who use cannabis before and/or after exercise reported that they exercised more, and had positive attitudes about co-use on exercise, which implies cannabis may be a useful tool for exercise among some users. In other words, sedentary cannabis users, particularly those who attribute low physical activity to concerns about recovery, motivation, or enjoyment, may benefit from co-use, provided that they select low-risk exercise options that do not compromise safety during intoxication.”
This is one of a few yet significant studies showing promise that cannabis may indeed impact how we associate exercise.
“These data suggest that many cannabis users in states with legal cannabis access use in conjunction with exercise, and that most who do so believe it increases enjoyment of, recovery from, and to some extent the motivation to engage in exercise. As these factors positively correlate with exercise behavior, using cannabis with exercise may play a beneficial role in the health of cannabis users,” says the study.
“There is a stereotype that cannabis use leads people to be lazy and couch-locked and not physically active, but these data suggest that this is not the case,” writes Angela Bryan, senior author of the study, who is also a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science. The Result: Fitter, Healthier Cannabis Consumers Naturally, when people are more motivated to work out frequently because of their cannabis use, you get people who are healthier and fitter than their non-consuming counterparts.