Training & Nutrition - excess exercise hurts the heart
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Are there any stats to the contrary of this?
06-05-12, 11:01 AM
I think the stats you are looking for would be found in studies on how journalists can misinterpret and sensationalize research to generate headlines which reach dramatically different conclusions than the scientists.
Here is the conclusion the review being discussed came to:
In some individuals, long-term excessive endurance ET may cause adverse structural and electrical cardiac remodeling, including fibrosis and stiffening of the atria, RV, and large arteries. This theoretically might provide a substrate for atrial and ventricular arrhythmias and increase CV risk. Further investigation is warranted to identify the exercise threshold for potential toxicity, screening for at-risk individuals, and ideal ET regimens for optimizing CV health. For now, on the basis of animal and human data, CV benefits of vigorous aerobic ET appear to accrue in a dose-dependent fashion up to about 1 hour daily, beyond which further exertion produces diminishing returns and may even cause adverse CV effects in some individuals.
This is quite different than the headline in the news article: "Excess exercise 'hurts the heart' and cause dangerous long-term harm, say scientists" along with a number of selective quotes from the study.
06-05-12, 10:26 PM
OTOH, TdF winners do seem to die rather young, or at least not particularly old. Two of my lifetime-athlete friends developed A-fib in their late 60's. None of my non-athlete friends have had that diagnosis. I suspect there's something to it. There is a strong thread in the racer and randonneur communities that says better to die young while doing what you want than to die old and bored. It's all just choices. I think most riders understand what they are choosing. An internist doctor I went to worked as a team doc. His opinion is that serious anaerobic work, intervals, fartlek and the like, are damaging to the heart.
06-06-12, 03:14 AM
Everything in proper balance and moderation, it's not a difficult concept. Anything in excess can be harmful. That's why they call it "excessive" because it has been taken beyond what is beneficial into the damaging range.
BTW, anyone can develop a-fib. I was hospitalized for it when I was in my early 40s, around 300 pounds, and definately not doing excessive endurance exercise. A-fib is one of the most common dysrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and your likelyhood of developing it increase with age. I see dozens of patients with it every year. Most are over 50 and few are serious athletes.
06-06-12, 10:54 AM
There is some statistical evidence that too much exercise can cause some issues. E.g. older members of the 100 Marathon Club -- runners who had done over 100 marathons -- had signs of fibrosis.
However, it wasn't clear this in turn led to significantly higher rates of cardiac disease. Other factors like genetics, diet, general health and stress will play a part. It's basically impossible to determine an individual's threshold for excess exercise.
Unless your doctor says otherwise, I don't see any particular reason to worry about it. Just get your regular checkups, eat right, maybe check your blood pressure regularly, and be aware if you experience an arrhythmia.
06-06-12, 11:41 AM
OTOH, TdF winners do seem to die rather young, or at least not particularly old. Two of my lifetime-athlete friends developed A-fib in their late 60's. None of my non-athlete friends have had that diagnosis. I suspect there's something to it. There is a strong thread in the racer and randonneur communities that says better to die young while doing what you want than to die old and bored. It's all just choices. I think most riders understand what they are choosing. An internist doctor I went to worked as a team doc. His opinion is that serious anaerobic work, intervals, fartlek and the like, are damaging to the heart.OTOOH tdf cyclists appear to live longer than average according to "Increased average longevity among the "Tour de France" cyclists. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21618162)"
It is widely held among the general population and even among health professionals that moderate exercise is a healthy practice but long term high intensity exercise is not. The specific amount of physical activity necessary for good health remains unclear. To date, longevity studies of elite athletes have been relatively sparse and the results are somewhat conflicting. The Tour de France is among the most gruelling sport events in the world, during which highly trained professional cyclists undertake high intensity exercise for a full 3 weeks. Consequently we set out to determine the longevity of the participants in the Tour de France, compared with that of the general population. We studied the longevity of 834 cyclists from France (n=465), Italy (n=196) and Belgium (n=173) who rode the Tour de France between the years 1930 and 1964. Dates of birth and death of the cyclists were obtained on December 31 (st) 2007. We calculated the percentage of survivors for each age and compared them with the values for the pooled general population of France, Italy and Belgium for the appropriate age cohorts. We found a very significant increase in average longevity (17%) of the cyclists when compared with the general population. The age at which 50% of the general population died was 73.5 vs. 81.5 years in Tour de France participants. Our major finding is that repeated very intense exercise prolongs life span in well trained practitioners. Our findings underpin the importance of exercising without the fear that becoming exhausted might be bad for one's health.I suspect that very few if any cyclists on this site train as hard as tdf participants so I think we're reasonably safe.
I do know quite a few cyclists who have been treated for a-fib.
My father and father in law both had very tough end of life experiences with Alzheimers & cancer. I'd be pretty happy to check out at 85+ with a heart attack at the end of a long hill.
06-06-12, 12:17 PM
I have been aware of the spectrum from sedentary -> fit -> training (exercise past what you need for health alone, which could be focused toward an event but otherwise may be it's own reward in which case who cares if you do or don't get a measurable health benefit from it), but then in this week's (month's?) Costco magazine there was a trainer talking about a spectrum from sedentary -> 'healthy' -> fit (where 'healthy' means not fat but also can't climb a set of stairs, which I would have had trouble wrapping my brain around if this past 'bike-to-work month' hadn't shown me a pretty skinny non-smoking coworker who couldn't bike 2 miles to work w/o stopping to push the bike)
Whatever; even if I bike more than the surgeon general's mandated 30 (or is it 60, I do more than that too) min per day I do enjoy it so I get benefit that way even if it doesn't add (or even if it subtracts) X years/months/days
06-07-12, 12:56 AM
OTOOH tdf cyclists appear to live longer than average according to "Increased average longevity among the "Tour de France" cyclists. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21618162)"
I suspect that very few if any cyclists on this site train as hard as tdf participants so I think we're reasonably safe.
I do know quite a few cyclists who have been treated for a-fib.
My father and father in law both had very tough end of life experiences with Alzheimers & cancer. I'd be pretty happy to check out at 85+ with a heart attack at the end of a long hill.Thanks for the link. I looked around but couldn't find anything. OTOH, that study rather begs the question, as it compared longevity of the general population to TdF riders, ignoring the possibility voiced by the OP's study, that there might be a curve going from sedentary to TdF, and perhaps the high spot on the curve is somewhere other than at the ends. 81 is a bit early these days, with the fastest growing age cohort being centenarians. I'm hoping to still be riding and skiing at 81. So far so good.
Research on health stuff is always conflicting.
06-08-12, 02:46 AM
There's been an extended discussion of this in the fifty-plus forum. Check it out. The most interesting thing to me was the finding that lifelong vigorous exercisers lived longer, and retained better function, than the general population. The headline is focussed on the 12% of regular marathon runners, very long-distance cyclists etc. who seem to develop problems.
My take is that if you train and compete to close to exhaustion there is a risk it will cause you damage in the long term, but that your chances - and your life - are still massively better than if you stayed sedentary and fat.
Ofc tdf riders die younger, they put a massive effort into training and they suffer a lot on races
for us normal humans, regular riding only has benefits
06-14-12, 10:00 AM
The ultra-marathon runner Dr. Tim Noakes, MD touches on some of the medical problems in his 931 page book "Lore of Running".
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