Slow and Steady Exercise ‘Best for Improving Heart Health’

It’s no secret that exercise has a plethora of health advantages. However, it has been shown that there may be too much of a good thing.

According to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, extreme activity such as marathons, triathlons, and high-intensity interval training might increase the risk of cardiac arrest, irregular heart rhythm, and heart attack in persons who are not active or adapted.

Slow and Steady Exercise

Stay healthy: Slow and Steady Exercise ‘Best for Improving Heart Health’

“Exercise is medicine, and as medicine, there is the possibility of underdosing and overdosing on exercise – more is not always better and can lead to cardiac events, particularly when conducted by sedentary, unfit persons with known or undiagnosed heart disease.” Barry A. Franklin, chair of the statement’s writing committee, said in a news release.

Slow and Steady ExerciseFranklin is the director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. “This statement aims to balance the advantages and dangers of strenuous activity such as marathons and triathlons. “This, of course, isn’t to say that people should avoid exercise altogether. Authors of the statement – published Wednesday in the AHA’s journal Circulation – encourage people to engage in aerobic exercises, which keep large muscles moving for a sustained time. They can be done at low or high intensity, including walking, brisk walking, running, bicycling, and swimming. Exercises that increase your heart rate and make you sweat are generally considered high-intensity, while those that don’t are considered low-intensity.

Get Your Heart Health Checked Before You Start Exercising!

The study’s authors reviewed 300 studies and found that the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks. They concluded that physically active people have a lower risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death. However, they also identified potential risks with intense exercise training.

According to the authors’ evaluation of a tiny trial, the risk of sudden cardiac mortality or heart attack is minimal for persons pursuing high-intensity exercise goals. However, the incidence of cardiac incidents among males running marathons has increased over time, suggesting that more high-risk runners with potentially underlying cardiovascular conditions are participating. The risk for women, who made up just 15% of the study’s population, was 3.5 times lower than for men.

First-time triathlon participants made up 40% of those who experienced cardiac events.

The authors also determined that high altitudes increase risk, and half of cardiac events are suffered in the last mile of a marathon or half-marathon. Irregular heart rhythm, or heart arrhythmia, is highest among people on both sides of the fitness spectrum – those who are inactive and those who engage in high volumes of exercise training.

The new report suggests a Slow and Steady Exercise approach to training. Chest tightness and shortness of breath are signs of taking it easy and, in extreme cases, seeking medical help.

It also recommends warming up, cooling down, and increasing the time spent on exercise from five to 10 minutes initially, building up slowly to the desired time. Running and vigorous walking should be done on flat land, working up to hills over time if no concerning symptoms arise.

“It is important to start exercising,” Franklin said. “But perform the slow and steady exercise, even if you were an athlete in high school.”



Researchers have reported that starting a slow and steady exercise regime is the best way to improve health and avoid a heart attack.


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