The Effects Of Extreme Exercise On Your Heart – What You Need To Know

doctor checking a persons blood pressure

Sudden cardiac death is recorded as the most common cause of sudden death in athletes. There’s a link between exercise and heart health, and this can present a danger as much as it can relate to health benefits. Whether you’re heading to the gym with a goal to lose weight or you’re training to be the next Olympic gold medalist, here’s what you need to know about the negative impact that extreme exercise can have on your heart.

A nationwide issue

When an athlete or gym goer goes through their fitness routine, heart problems aren’t usually the first thing to come to mind. However, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes who seem otherwise healthy, and happens when electrical issues occur in the heart and interrupt blood flow, usually during extreme exercise. However, it’s important to know that cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, regardless of age. One of the main reasons that cardiac arrests happen while on the field or in the gym is due to underlying heart issues – and overdoing it.

Overdoing it

While moderate exercise is always recommended to maintain a healthy heart, it’s important to know that you can overdo it and cause more harm than good. This is especially true for those who constantly push themselves to the limit. Competitive athletes and those who enjoy an intense workout can easily cause strain and damage on their heart when exercising, which can be especially dangerous when underlying heart conditions, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or heart disease are involved. Key warning signs that you may be overdoing it (and affecting your heart) include dizzy spells or passing out during exercise, and shouldn’t be ignored.  

Preventative measures

With heart issues often going undetected among those who participate in sports or regular exercise, defibrillators are a key provision. Whether they’re in the gym, sports club or stadium, defibrillators can be a lifesaving device should anyone experience cardiac arrest, and they’re designed so that even bystanders can easily and safely use them. However, while defibrillators are a great provision to have in place, it’s also necessary to stay up to date on your heart health. 

Along with maintaining a healthy and non-intense fitness routine, seeing your doctor regularly can help determine if you’re especially at risk for any problems on the field or in the gym. Knowing your risks is the best way to keep informed and up to date on your heart health, as underlying heart conditions can pose a serious risk when exercising. Family history of heart issues is especially important, as they can be hereditary.  

While going to the gym to exercise and participating in sports are great ways to stay heart-healthy, overdoing it can prove to be dangerous. That said, knowing your risks, seeing your doctor regularly, and having the right kind of fitness routine can help reduce your risk of cardiac arrest.

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