Heart attack is no longer an old age problem as hospitals have been witnessing a growing trend of heart attacks, predominantly among youngsters who are into bodybuilding. The advent of social media has directly resulted in a large number of youngsters being compelled to follow extreme training regimens or dubious dietary trends to mimic their favourite celebrities’ physiques.
Talking to OnlyMyHealth, Dr Chetan Bhambure, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, insisted upon following a controlled fitness and diet plan that does not exert undue pressure on the heart when training at the gym.
Reasons Why a Gym Enthusiast Could Suffer a Heart Attack
According to a study conducted by Indian Heart Association (IHA), 50% of all heart attacks in Indian men occur under 50 years of age, and 25% in Indian men occur under 40 years of age. Dr Bhambure suggests that bodybuilding enthusiasts constitute a large portion of the statistical findings of IHA, and listed factors involved with bodybuilding that hurt heart health:
- Over-exercising: Pushing the body to its limits may lead to heightened cardiovascular stress, increasing the risk of heart attacks.
- Anabolic Steroids and Supplements: To achieve peak physical performance, some bodybuilders abuse anabolic steroids and supplements, which cause elevated blood pressure, cholesterol imbalances, and increased risk of blood clots.
- Improper nutrition and dehydration: An imbalanced diet can impact heart health. Diets excessively high in protein and saturated fats may contribute to cardiovascular problems, especially when combined with poor water intake.
- Genetic predispositions: People with a family history of poor heart health or a pre-existing heart problem are highly susceptible to heart-related issues exacerbated through intense physical training.
- Ignoring Warning Signs: In their pursuit of strength and physical prowess, bodybuilders often dismiss warning signs of potential heart problems, attributing symptoms to normal muscle soreness or fatigue.
Precautions for Gym Goers to Protect Their Heart Health
Dr Bhambure advised that to safeguard heart health while pursuing bodybuilding, enthusiasts should adopt a holistic approach:
- Practice warm-up and cool-down exercises for at least 20 minutes before and after gym sessions.
- Pay close attention to how your body reacts after exercising. If you experience pain on the left side of the chest or the joints during or after your gym sessions, consult a doctor immediately.
- If you experience dizziness, racing heartbeat, breathing difficulty, palpitations, lightheadedness, or a fainting sensation, stop your workout immediately and seek medical consultation.
- Do not over-exert by exercising for three to four hours at a stretch, as this can put undue pressure on your heart.
- Do not blindly follow any fitness trends just because others are doing it or it is increasingly popular on social media
- Get meticulous cardiac screening before opting for extreme workout and training regimens. Screening is a vital tool in the timely detection of heart problems.
- Work towards your fitness goals by taking care of your overall well-being. Eat well, drink enough water, and get adequate sleep daily.
- Low-impact exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming can enhance cardiovascular endurance and promote overall well-being.
- Do not ingest any supplements or performance-enhancing drugs without a prescription by a licensed medical practitioner.
Protect your Heart while Gymming
While exercise is generally associated with improved heart health, extreme workout regimens and performance-enhancing practices might do more harm than good. Gym enthusiasts must take the necessary precautions before initiating any fitness routine to safeguard their hearts and escape the possibility of early death.