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Cyclists' hearts: can you be so fit that you die?

Old 01-16-19, 10:37 PM
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Cyclists' hearts: can you be so fit that you die?


Problems with extreme fitness: Cyclist who's heart rate drop so low during sleep they need to wake up and exercise.
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Old 01-16-19, 11:58 PM
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Sitting is the new smoking; I'll take my chances with fitness!
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Old 01-17-19, 02:09 AM
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Yeah, I don't think the majority of us have that problem to worry about. But it does put a new spin on very low heart rate. I was just surprised to find out such a condition existed in the sport. Of course he did mention the doping, which did bring things down to earth. But the blood turning into jelly and dying from it...wow!
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Old 01-17-19, 04:08 AM
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There is some indication, although possibly not well researched, that athletes may actually be in more danger of developing DVT during long flights.

https://www.active.com/articles/hidd...rance-athletes

https://www.stoptheclot.org/about-cl...d-blood-clots/

And more.



I gained an interest in that line of study in 2009.

In May 2009, I had cycled 1000 km and felt pretty fit. In early June, I hopped on the longest flight in the world at that time: LA to Melbourne.

I read the info about DVT and figured I was not at risk.

Unfortunately I was also squashed in beside two large guys with massive bladders.

About an hour before we landed, my left calf felt like it cramped.

At the end of July I was rushed into a dopler ultrasound and was immediately admitted to hospital for 2 weeks with DVT.


I'm not sure that being athletic had anything to do with my clot. It was discovered that I have a genetic predisposition to clotting. But nevertheless ... I was interested.
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Old 01-17-19, 05:05 AM
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Majority of people don't exercise enough and ride enough for it to become a problem.
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Old 01-17-19, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post

Problems with extreme fitness: Cyclist who's heart rate drop so low during sleep they need to wake up and exercise.

I've never heard of that being an issue.

What was an issue, however, was riders doping up with so much EPO that their blood got so thick that they'd have heart attacks in their sleep. Many reports (probably unsubstantiated) were circulating of pros getting up in the middle of the night to exercise for that.
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Old 01-17-19, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Yeah, I don't think the majority of us have that problem to worry about. But it does put a new spin on very low heart rate. I was just surprised to find out such a condition existed in the sport. Of course he did mention the doping, which did bring things down to earth. But the blood turning into jelly and dying from it...wow!
When hematocrit jumps from 40% to 60%...! One famous/notorious TdF winner was actually nicknamed Mr. 60% because of that.
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Old 01-17-19, 08:39 AM
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I love the Medlife Crisis guy. Discovered him via Tom Scott, which is an absolutely brilliant YouTube channel Things You Might Not Know / Amazing Places / Built for Science) that everyone should watch.
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Old 01-17-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sitting is the new smoking; I'll take my chances with fitness!
"I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire."
- Winston Churchill
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Old 01-17-19, 10:59 AM
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So this is how it works: Every species with a heart gets about 1-2 billion heartbeats in a lifetime. That's just a rough approximation, but something like that - hummingbirds, human, elephants, all about the same. When you do a lot of aerobic exercise, you experience periods of very high HR, but also long periods of low HR and generally lower HR during daily activities. Adding it all up, your average HR goes down, so you live longer, right? I have a riding buddy who has on his Rider ID, "My resting heart rate is 40" for the benefit of possible EMTs.

Machka's point is a very good one. Stats say that endurance athletes are at more risk for DVT during long enforced periods of sitting. I try to walk a bit every hour on a long flight. Supposedly compression tights are a good idea for us on flights. I wear compression socks on the plane.

Pro tip: giving plasma about once a month will increase your hematocrit, though not beyond the legal limit of 50. I used to do that back when they'd pay me for it. I don't think going over 50 is possible without drugs.

Heartbeat chart here: https://gizmodo.com/5982977/how-many...-in-a-lifetime
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Old 01-17-19, 12:50 PM
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Check this out... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art...2/#!po=71.8750

The above is a thorough discussion of the ahtlete’s heart. My heart has left ventrical hypertrophy. I always get an abnormal EKG. My cardiologist signs off / approves procedures. He gave me a letter authorizing me to race in the UCI race in Tahiti. All international racers had to have a letter from a doc to compete. YMMV
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Old 01-17-19, 01:18 PM
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The video is very good, as are the others done by Dr. Francis. Very entertaining.

The video is less about fitness then it is about performance enhancing drugs.

My takeaway is that I'm more at risk of getting hit by a car.
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Old 01-17-19, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
There is some indication, although possibly not well researched, that athletes may actually be in more danger of developing DVT during long flights.

................................

At the end of July I was rushed into a dopler ultrasound and was immediately admitted to hospital for 2 weeks with DVT.


I'm not sure that being athletic had anything to do with my clot. It was discovered that I have a genetic predisposition to clotting. But nevertheless ... I was interested.
I took a few roads and turns out that you didn't take, but ended up in pretty much the same place. After a few more episodes I'm now on warfarin for the duration.

Re the slow heartbeat: a very good friend, from whom I learned an awful lot about cycling, has a chronically slow heart beat. Sometimes it's slow enough to be considered to be "stopped". In fact, that actually happened. Lucky for him that he was home one time when his heart completely stopped. His wife, a nurse, pounded on his chest with her hands until his heart began beating again. After the fact he had a device surgically implanted to jumpstart his heart in the event it stops beating. Not exactly a pacemaker, but you get the idea.
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Old 01-17-19, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I've never heard of that being an issue.

What was an issue, however, was riders doping up with so much EPO that their blood got so thick that they'd have heart attacks in their sleep. Many reports (probably unsubstantiated) were circulating of pros getting up in the middle of the night to exercise for that.
That is what I have heard as well....as a result of doping.

On a similar topic regarding the heart and exercise, I have learned that if you have high blood pressure that you really need to make sure it is under control. The way it was explained to me is that high blood pressure over time in combination with working out hard can cause thickening of the walls which is not good.
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Old 01-17-19, 07:13 PM
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If your sport or your training or your workout routine is making your health worse and causing all kinds of health problems, aches, chronic pain and injuries then it means that you're overdoing it or doing something wrong...Exercising should improve your quality of life and make you feel better, not worse.
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Old 01-17-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sitting is the new smoking; I'll take my chances with fitness!
I was reading an article somewhere that standing for long periods of time everyday can be worse than sitting...There you go, we're all screwed and destined to die regardless of what we do.
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Old 01-18-19, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
If your sport or your training or your workout routine is making your health worse and causing all kinds of health problems, aches, chronic pain and injuries then it means that you're overdoing it or doing something wrong...Exercising should improve your quality of life and make you feel better, not worse.
Exercising =/= athletic competition.

I see little about elite/pro competition that is healthy. So of course, those aspiring to similar levels (or their best) are going to take it much further than is likely to be totally healthy.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:13 PM
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I'm very careful not to get too fit.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
...There you go, we're all screwed and destined to die regardless of what we do.
Just proves life is a terminal condition.
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Old 01-18-19, 10:01 PM
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"life is a journey and not a destination "
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Old 01-18-19, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Exercising =/= athletic competition.

I see little about elite/pro competition that is healthy. So of course, those aspiring to similar levels (or their best) are going to take it much further than is likely to be totally healthy.
That said, TdF champions do a lot better late in life than one might think.
One study compared 834 cyclists who rode the Tour de France from the 1930s-1960s and found that they lived, on average, eight years longer than the general population.

Another study examined all 786 French competitors in the Tour from 1947-2012 and found they lived on average six years longer.
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-27146342

Of course this might be due to TdF champs being naturally talented in everything, maybe also longevity, but:
Some Danish research tried to get round this problem by comparing cyclists. For 18 years they tracked the health of 5,000 men and women who cycled every day in Copenhagen.

They found that those who did intense cycling - enough to be out of breath - lived longer than those who simply pootled along at a pace where they could have a conversation.

For men, the extra life expectancy was five years and for women, four years.
- from the same BBC link. So get after it and don't worry, be happy. See my sig.
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Old 01-18-19, 10:44 PM
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So, TdF competitors from the era before doping lived longer. Not surprising. But the more you look at recent events, it doesn't hold true anymore. Just this year, Michael Goolaerts died of cardiorespiratory failure during Paris-Roubaix at the age of 23. The previous year, Egyptian cyclist Eslam Nasser Zaki died of a heart attack in the middle of an Omnium event. He was 22.

So as the good doctor pointed out in the video, you can't be overly fit from cycling. Just don't dope.
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Old 01-19-19, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
So, TdF competitors from the era before doping lived longer. Not surprising. But the more you look at recent events, it doesn't hold true anymore. Just this year, Michael Goolaerts died of cardiorespiratory failure during Paris-Roubaix at the age of 23. The previous year, Egyptian cyclist Eslam Nasser Zaki died of a heart attack in the middle of an Omnium event. He was 22.

So as the good doctor pointed out in the video, you can't be overly fit from cycling. Just don't dope.
In reality, there was no era before doping, though there certainly was an era before doping controls. What's used has changed. it's like police radar and receivers. There's also a lot of stuff that's known to be used but not sanctioned, though long-term results are unknown. But if you survive racing, it looks pretty good. If you don't race, it looks even better.
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Old 01-19-19, 07:23 PM
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I think that's the most salient point-- cycling as a pastime and high-level, competitive, professional bicycle racing are nearly opposite concepts. The former can provide measurable health benefits, while the latter might* kill you.

*depending on what you're willing to do to win, that is.
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Old 01-20-19, 01:36 AM
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Watching the film, it seemed to associate drugs, and in particular EPO with the sudden death of cyclists.

One of the things I was thinking about a bit today was that Anorexia is also often associated with excessive-exercise, dietary restrictions, and a slow heart rate. It almost sounds like elite cyclists.

There is also long QT syndrome which may affect anorexics.
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