Whether it is our physical training sessions in school or from advertisements, we have heard about the benefits of exercising all our life. Exercising has been the solution to almost everything – have high cholesterol? Exercise can help. Have weak bones and joints? Exercise can be beneficial. Feeling anxious? Exercise can cheer you up, and the list goes on.
But after having heard of the innumerable benefits of exercising, we are also hearing that exercising is also leading to heart attacks. Some of the renowned names in the entertainment industry have had heart attacks while they were in the middle of vigorous exercises. Heart attacks have never been uncommon and unheard of. But lately, most heart attack cases have been reported in gyms.
So, where does it lead us? All this while we thought that excessive exercising is beneficial for our health, but now, why is it leading to heart attacks? Should we even work out? Should we even head to gyms?
The questions are many, and today we will be answering them in this blog post
So, can vigorous exercising cause heart attacks?
Heart attacks are caused when the blood flow to the heart stops. Being devoid of blood flow, the heart muscles become damaged, further damaging a large part of the heart which can turn fatal in the end.
Even though exercising is considered beneficial for cardiovascular health, it cannot be denied that excess exercising can lead to cardiovascular issues, including heart attacks and cardiac arrest.
Existing blockages in the heart can cause sudden cardiac arrests during exercises. In addition, putting excessive pressure on the heart can cause plaque rupture. It can even cause electrical disturbances in the heart, which can lead to cardiac arrests.
As for heart attacks, when a person pushes more than they should, it creates a great difference in the blood demand and supply equation. While your body demands extra blood supply, your heart overexerts itself and beats faster, to supply the required blood, leading to a heart attack.
In addition to that, vigorous exercise can also cause the rupture of a pre-existing plaque in the arteries. It can also trigger an abnormal heart rhythm, which can cause cardiovascular collapse. Remember, there is only so much your heart can take. Pushing your heart to work harder than it should only puts you at risk.
What should you do then?
First things first, you must not start a workout routine without getting your health condition evaluated by your doctor. Especially, if you have a smoking habit, high blood pressure, or a history of heart disease in the family. If not, you must seek medical advice and get heart tests such as ECG, TMT, ECHO, CT or CAT and coronary angiogram to get a better analysis of your heart condition.
Secondly, if you are starting a workout routine after a long time or have never worked out in life, starting with vigorous exercises can be dangerous. Start slow. Begin with low-intensity workouts, and move towards moderate-intensity workouts.
Even when you are doing moderate exercise, it’s easy for it to turn into vigorous exercise. You should never cross 80% of your maximum possible heart rate. It is regarded as a red zone, increasing the chance of a heart attack. It is advisable that you wear fitness bands that monitor heart rates.
In addition, you must never ignore symptoms such as heaviness, throat pain, left shoulder pain, back pain, stomach cramps, headaches and dizziness. The moment you begin to feel these symptoms, stop exercising.
Ditch the saying, “No pain, no gain”, instead adopt the saying, “Listen to your body”.
Start listening to your body. Your body always gives you signs and warnings. Don’t ignore them, in the name of pushing yourself harder. When you feel it is time to take a break, take it. Breaks are important. Not taking breaks can put you at risk.
So, is the gym the culprit?
No, the gym is not the culprit, but vigorous exercises are. While it is true that intense physical activity can temporarily increase the risk of heart-related events, it is important to recognise that regular exercise provides numerous long-term benefits for cardiovascular health. By understanding individual risk factors, consulting with medical professionals, and adopting appropriate exercise routines, individuals can strike a balance between pushing their limits and safeguarding their heart health. With proper guidance and moderation, it is possible to reap the rewards of vigorous workouts while minimising the potential risks, ensuring that exercise remains a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.