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Are people exercising to death? How much exercise is too much

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Exercising is something that all health experts speak in favor of. We have been taught since a very young age that exercising ourselves is good for health. After all, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body! However, it should always be remembered that anything in excess can be really hazardous. The more extreme lengths we try to go to for something, the more harmful it can be for us. Similarly, pushing the body beyond the limits can cause serious health complications. In the recent past, comedian Raju Srivastav and Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar lost their lives out of nowhere while working out in the gym. This has led people to wonder “Are we exercising to death”? It also raises a question – how much work out is too much?

Health problems that might occur during exercising

  • Rhabdomyolysis: Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome involving muscle breakdown and damage. When muscles are injured, they release their contents, including a muscle enzyme called myoglobin, which is a protein, into the bloodstream. The enzyme can harm the kidneys and can cause kidney failure in up to 40% of cases. It also can harm the kidneys’ ability to remove urine and other waste. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death. However, prompt treatment often brings a good outcome. It happens most often with weightlifters and marathon runners who exhaust their muscles while also dehydrating themselves, particularly in hot conditions. Rhabdo can also be caused by drinking too much booze, and may also be linked with taking too many creatine supplements or anabolic steroids.
  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Electrolyte imbalances occur when electrolyte levels become too high or too low, which is a sign of another issue in the body. Body chemistry might dangerously off-track in the form of an electrolyte imbalance, which can result from either too much (hyper-) or too little (hypo-) of a given electrolyte. This might be caused by a hardcore workout timed with a grueling weight-loss program and/or a sudden sugar rush. Extremely rapid weight loss can cause major issues with swings in body electrolytes. This affects people who suddenly eat or drink after conditioning their bodies to a starvation diet.
  • Exertional Heat Stroke: Technically called hyperthermia, “exertional heat stroke” is a potentially deadly combination of overheating your system while working out too hard. While there is some evidence that training in hot weather can improve the cardio ability, it’s also true that too much heat, particularly when the body exceeds 104°F or 40°C, can have a devastating impact on your body. Symptoms include confusion, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, light-headedness, and low blood pressure.
  • Hypothermia: Hypothermia, defined as when the body’s core temperature sinks significantly below the normal 98.6°F or 37°C , is typically associated with alpine sports. However, hypothermia can often sneak up on everyday athletes in several other scenarios, including long-distance swimming. A long, sweaty run in cold weather might also cause hypothermia. Once you stop running, the sweat-soaked shirt can cool off quickly, forcing the body to warm not only itself but also any gear which puts you at risk for hypothermia. A sweatshirt should always be kept handy and changing into dry clothes quickly should be a priority.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can be one of the most common afflictions to strike during a workout and, potentially, is one of the most dangerous ones. Working out in hot, humid weather or a hot, humid gym, or sweating a lot might put one at risk for dehydration, which occurs when the body loses much more water than it takes in. While mild dehydration is usually manageable, severe dehydration can create dangerous electrolyte imbalances. When the body’s supply of water starts drying up, its concentration of electrolytes increases. Serious dehydration can make it seem like the body has far more electrolytes than normal.

Heart attack while exercising

Cardio is defined as any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a prolonged period of time. So it is kind of obvious that it puts strain on the heart while someone is doing cardio, as the heart needs to pump blood faster to keep up with the high oxygen demand of the body.

When it comes to intense exercises like quick running, experts first advise not to overdo it along with the advice of how to do the training. A heart attack or cardiac arrest during any physical activity usually happens to those people who have already have heart disease or genetic condition.

A sudden decrease in blood flow causes damage, especially to a healthy heart, which is new to working with low blood flow. If the heart is already weak, then it has passed through that condition.

Fat, cholesterol and other things that accumulate in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle are called plaques.

When this plaque ruptures in the artery of the heart for some reason, a blood clot is formed there. This blood clot blocks blood flow, which can lead to a heart attack.

What might cause heart attack during exercising?

Sudden cardiac arrest during exercise or heavy physical activity can mostly happen because of existing blockages, diagnosed or undiagnosed, in the heart.

Blockages in the heart are a result of cells and cholesterol particles breaking through the barrier of endothelial cells and infiltrating the lining of the artery. This results in the formation of a bump called plaque in the artery. Too much physical strain can cause “plaque rupture or trigger electrical disturbances in the heart” that further lead to cardiac arrest.

Exercise is vital in helping to prevent heart disease. It’s generally safe for most people, but precautions should be taken, especially if:

  • your doctor has told you that you have one or more of the risk factors for heart disease
  • you’ve recently experienced a heart attack or other heart problem
  • you’ve been inactive previously

Low-impact exercises are also helpful for people who have heart diseases.

How to be safe while exercising?

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People with heart disease can almost always exercise safely if they’re evaluated beforehand. However, exercise isn’t appropriate for all people with heart disease. While in the beginning phases of working out, the key is to start off slow to prevent adverse effects. Consulting a health expert before beginning a new exercise program is also smart. There are some cases in which the entire workout routine is planned out and monitored by healthcare professionals.

Despite these precautions, it can be difficult for a doctor to predict health problems that one might experience while exercising. It is wise to familiarize oneself with symptoms that may suggest harmful complications. Becoming aware of some typical warning signs of a heart-related problem could be potentially lifesaving.

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