Study says that intense exercise may damage the heart, stick to moderate limits
Exercising and being physically active definitely reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), with many studies showing that an active individual has a 30 to 40 percent lower risk. But the latest research has disproved the myth of limitless exercise, over-exercising and pushing too hard, advising a moderate amount instead. An intense exercise regimen may promote arterial calcification, or hardening of the arteries, in active middle-aged people.
The research paper, published in the journal Circulation, focused on investigating the relationship between exercise volume and intensity and the development of coronary artery risk among older male athletes. Over a long follow-up period, exercise intensity was associated with the development of coronary atherosclerosis. According to the findings, “Intensity exercise was associated with significantly higher atherosclerosis and progression of calcified plaques. Exercises of a very high level of intensity were associated with the formation of calcified plaque, suggesting that certain mechanisms may be involved in facilitating hardening of the coronary arteries in athletes.”
Explaining, Dr. Bimal Shagar, Cardiologist, Former Consultant at AIIMS and Founder of the SAAOL Heart Institute, explains, “There has been a longstanding belief throughout the world that a massive amount of physical activity and exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and other associated diseases. Diseases With ever-increasing new findings and research, it is now proven that while moderate physical activity can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high-intensity exercise can trigger the development of coronary atherosclerosis in middle-aged and older male athletes Age Certain exercises or exercises are known to place an excessive burden on the heart causing the body to produce higher levels of catecholamines that increase heart rate and blood pressure An accelerated heart rate can accelerate hardening of the arteries Catecholamines are important stress responses found within The body and high levels of these stress responses can cause high blood pressure, which leads to many problems such as headaches, sweating, heart palpitations, and headaches. M chest and anxiety, all stimuli. “
Coronary atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaques begin to form within the inner walls of the arteries in the heart. This plaque can consist of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the walls of your arteries. Arteries are responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, and because of this plaque formation, the path for blood becomes narrow and reduces or blocks blood flow through the body. Ultimately, due to clogged arteries and improper blood flow, an individual can suffer from a variety of coronary heart diseases. While exercise intensity is said to be associated with the development of coronary atherosclerosis, it has little or no effect on the human heart through the volume or number of exercises,” adds Dr. Shahager.
Moderation is suggested as the key to living a healthy life. “There is no need to burden the body with many hours of high-intensity workouts as you can achieve the same results over a period of time with less intense or light exercises. Exhausting the body too much when it is not ready for it can lead to disastrous results, not only in the case of cardio but also “.
Regular screening is advised, he says, “Diagnosis of plaque burden in the heart can be done with the help of several diagnostic tests. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is a biomarker of the amount of coronary atherosclerotic plaque and potential risk of CVD events, which can be measured through Advanced Diagnostic Tests Every individual is required to undergo regular screening to prevent such events.” Plaque can be measured through computed tomography (CT) and coronary tomography angiography (CCTA), and this study is known as
MARC-2 (Athletes’ Risk Measurement of Cardiovascular Events 2), follow-up to the MARC-1 (Athletes’ Risk Measurement of Cardiovascular Events 1) study. The MARC-2 study recruited asymptomatic middle-aged and elderly men over the age of 45 who showed no abnormalities in the medical evaluation of their sport between May 2019 and February 2020. Individuals who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention during follow-up were excluded. Relevant information about the participants’ exercise characteristics was obtained through a validated questionnaire. This questionnaire focused on collecting information on the type of sport, frequency, duration for each sport (in years), duration of exercise session, and level of performance, i.e., recreation versus competition, for the study cohort.