In recent years, there have been news reports of apparently healthy individuals suffering heart attacks or sudden cardiac death while exercising. It seems confusing to the average person how a person can collapse ‘just like that’.
It is often believed that the event is caused by excessive exercise, but this is not entirely true. Sudden heart attack or sudden cardiac death in young people during exercise can be caused by a background of undiagnosed heart diseases such as HOCM (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy), dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, heart valve disease, myocarditis, or sudden rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque that was previously could not diagnose.
Many patients who are young and do not have structural heart disease, experience a heart attack due to the sudden rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque that has been formed over years of a sedentary lifestyle and is probably destabilized by sudden vigorous activities without proper body training. Many scientific studies suggest that people who do not exercise regularly are at increased risk of heart problems if they suddenly start exercising vigorously. However, gradually training and building an exercise and endurance schedule reduces the incidence of heart disease by delaying the development of plaque in the coronary arteries.
Even during exercise, it is important to do exercises such as cycling, swimming, running and brisk walking in addition to weight training – which is more popular among young people in gymnasiums. Vigorous exercise can be harmful to an untrained body and it is advisable to build endurance and strength before attempting to develop muscle mass. People who have been living a sedentary lifestyle for years must gradually build up an exercise schedule and routine.
Benefits of routine exercise include reducing body fat percentage, improving body composition, optimizing body weight, reducing cholesterol levels, and controlling hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Other benefits include delaying many diseases that might otherwise occur in a non-exercising person. Routine exercise and outdoor activities have also shown beneficial effects on psychology, mental well-being and overall quality of life.
Before engaging in extreme physical sports or intense physical activity and exercise, it is important to check for possible undiagnosed structural heart diseases. Even without illness, it is important to gradually build an exercise schedule and maintain it regularly.
It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced and healthy diet while following an exercise schedule. Exercising after inadequate sleep or in a drunken state after consuming alcohol is more likely to cause injury during exercise. Similarly, a healthy exercise schedule must be complemented by a healthy balanced diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and essential nutrients for a healthy body and mind.
It must be understood that exercise does not cause heart problems, disease or death; it’s vigorous exercise with undiagnosed illnesses or in an untrained body that could be harmful. Therefore, it is important to gradually build an exercise schedule, be regular in it and supplement it with a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
The views expressed above are the author’s.
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