Is unlimited sport good for your heart?

Postdate: 25 June 2018

Sports activity is good for you, and even important advice for staying healthy. It clears your head, reduces blood pressure and promotes sleep. These are only some of the benefits. But when is it too much, and how do you know when to stop and rest?

Sport: good for you most of the time?
In a large study, all research data was combined to try and find an answer. And indeed, and we already knew this of course: you can use sport to become and stay healthy. On the whole, it even seemed that 'normal' sporting activity can extend the average lifespan by as much as 7 years. But just like with any remedy, you can also overdose.

'TOO much is never a good thing'
Can you die from an excess of oxygen, or an excessive amount of water? Yes, you can. This also applies to excessive sports. The investigation showed that among professional athletes who took part in sports at extreme levels, the positive health effects became less. In fact, their intense and excessive activities took their toll. The enzyme troponin, also known as a substance that cardiologists use to assess damage to the heart, increased by 50%.

A ‘broken’ heart
Broken heart muscle fibres secrete troponin, and are a clear indication of heart damage. A heart that is being subjected to high levels of strain for hours, ends up with a state of heart muscle tissue death known as a myocardial infarction.

See also: Five signals for taking a step back

What ultimately remains is a scarred heart. The damage leads to multiple scars consisting of connective tissue, which replaces muscle tissue. In the long-term, this can give rise to cardiac arrhythmias.

The message? Too little sport is not good for your heart, but too much is not good either. Somewhere there is a limit to the amount of sports and the effect on your life expectancy. Too much, and you will live a shorter and unhealthier life. Run a marathon? No objections to this, as long as you do not see this as a ''once in a lifetime'' thing. Heart damage does not build itself up at the one single time. It is the effect of years of overtraining.


effects     heart     overtraining     physical effort     unlimited sport    


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