Intense exercise can damage the heart, stick to moderate limits, study finds

Exercise and physical activity definitely reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), with many studies showing that an active person has a 30-40% lower risk. But the latest research has shattered the myth of unlimited exercise, doing too much and pushing too hard and advised a moderate amount instead. Intense training regimen exercise may actually promote artery calcification or atherosclerosis in active middle-aged people.

The research paper, published in the journal Circulation, focused on investigating the relationship between exercise volume and intensity and progression of coronary risk in older male athletes. Over the long follow-up period, exercise intensity was associated with the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. According to the results, “Vigorous-intensity exercise was associated with significantly higher atherosclerosis and progression of calcified plaque. Exercise with a very high intensity level was associated with the formation of calcified plaque, which which suggests that certain mechanisms may be involved in the facilitation of coronary atherosclerosis in athletes.

Explaining this, Dr. Bimal Chhajer, cardiologist, former consultant at AIIMS and founder of the SAAOL Heart Institute, says, “There has been a long held belief around the world that an enormous amount of activity physical activity and exercise reduces the risk of CVD and other associated diseases. diseases. With ever-increasing new findings and research, it has now been established that while light physical activity may help reduce the risk of CVD, high-intensity exercise may lead to the progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis in male athletes. middle age and older. Certain exercises or workouts are known to put an excessive load on the heart, which leads the body to produce higher levels of catecholamines which increase an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure. An accelerated heart rate can accelerate atherosclerosis. Catecholamines are important stress responses present inside the body and high levels of these stress responses can cause high blood pressure leading to several problems like headache, sweating, heartbeat, pain in the chest and anxiety, all of which are triggers.

“Coronary atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque begins to form inside the inner walls of the arteries present in the heart. This plaque can be made up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the walls Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, and due to this plaque formation, the blood pathway becomes narrow and decreases or blocks blood flow through the body. from this blockage of arteries and poor blood circulation, an individual can suffer from various coronary heart diseases.Although the intensity of exercise is correlated with the progression of coronary atherosclerosis, the volume or number of workouts has little or no impact on the human heart,” adds Dr Chhajer.

He suggests that moderation is the key to a healthy life. “There is no need to weigh down the body with several hours of high intensity training when you can achieve the same results over a period of time with lower or light intensity exercise. is not ready for it can lead to catastrophic results, not only in the case of the heart, but also in other cases.

Advising regular screening, he says, “The plaque load present in the heart can be diagnosed using several diagnostic tests. A biomarker of the amount of coronary atherosclerotic plaque and the potential risk of cardiovascular events is coronary artery calcification (CAC) which can be measured by advanced diagnostic tests. Every individual is required to undergo regular screening to avoid such occurrences. Plaque can be measured using a computed tomography (CT) imaging technique and computed tomography coronary angiography (CCTA). This study is known as the

MARC-2 (Measuring Athletes’ Risk of Cardiovascular Events 2), a follow-up to the MARC-1 (Measuring Athletes’ Risk of Cardiovascular Events 1) study. The MARC-2 study recruited asymptomatic middle-aged and older men over the age of 45 and showed no abnormalities in medical assessment of their sport between May 2019 and February 2020. Individuals who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention during follow-up were excluded. Relevant information on participants’ exercise characteristics was obtained via a validated questionnaire. This questionnaire aimed to collect information on the type of sport, frequency, duration of each sport (in years), duration of an exercise session and level of performance, i.e. recreational vs. competitive, of the cohort studied.

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