If you've been owning up to your New Year's resolutions and have started your weight loss goals, then you must take caution.
A previous study in the United States has found that too much or too little exercise is somehow bad for the health of your heart.
In contrast, a different study revealed that moderate or regular exercise is particularly essential to keeping your heart healthy.
The Benefits Of Exercising
Past studies have shown that regular exercising have benefits for the heart.
For instance, experts in the United Kingdom have discovered that middle-aged women who partake in moderate exercise reduce their risks of developing heart disease.
Even doing physical activities such as gardening, cycling and walking are considered as effective ways to exercise, the study said.
Now, specialists from the Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council of the American College of Cardiology found that exercising regularly is indeed good for your heart health.
In a report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the authors of the study evaluated recent research that focused on exercise.
The team found that even small amounts of activity, such as standing, can significantly reduce a person's risk of heart disease.
However, the authors noted that only half of American adults get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Aside from that, although exercising has been found to help depressed patients and heart disease patients keep their heart in good health, the authors found that only 62 percent of heart attack patients were recommended to undergo cardiac rehabilitation after leaving the hospital.
Of the 62 percent, only 23 percent attended one rehab session, while just 5 percent finished 36 sessions, researchers said.
Why Exercising May Harm The Heart
There's also that case of vigorous exercise. A scientific review featured in December 2015 had offered reassurance and caution regarding the matter.
Led by Dr. Paul Thompson of the Hatford Hospital in Connecticut, the research team found that past studies have a "disquieting subtext." While more exercise is proven to reduce the risks of heart disease, the benefits decline or plateau at a certain point, the authors observed.
"There is no evidence that there is a level of exercise that is dangerous or too much for a normal, healthy person," said Thompson.
Still, those who workout should understand that frequent exercise causes profound changes in a person's heart physiology, the authors wrote.
These heart changes can mimic heart damage, with cardiac cells often turning "leaky" after vigorous exercise, releasing proteins into the bloodstream which in some circumstances are indicative of heart attack.
Fortunately, the proteins usually disappear after a few days and the heart seems to fully recover, Thompson said. In the process, though, the heart adapts to the change. Its right and left ventricles become enlarged, and it begins to look quite different, experts said.
Additionally, those who were born with heart abnormalities such as cardiomyopathy may worsen their condition if they partake in strenuous exercise, researchers said.
With that, Thompson suggested that people should take note of symptoms such as shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or chest pain all during exercise.
It is also best to know and to talk to relatives and medical experts about any family history of sudden death due to unexpected heart problems, he said.
The Benefits Outweigh The Harm
Meanwhile, the SECC study authors also reviewed recent research that have suggested that excessive exercising may harm the heart. One example of the vigorous exercises they evaluated are endurance races.
The SECC research team found that the benefits of exercising greatly outweigh the harmful effects.
Dr. Michael Scott Emery, SECC co-chair, said the media has embraced the idea that exercise may harm the heart, and has disseminated the message. This diverts attention away from the benefits of exercise in the prevention of heart diseases.
"The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity," said Dr. Valentin Fuster, the journal's editor-in-chief.
In the end, Emery said all the findings should prompt clinicians to recommend strongly low and moderate exercise sessions for the majority of patients recovering from heart attack.
"Equally important are initiatives to promote population health at large through physical activity across the life span, as it [influences] behavior from childhood into adult life," he added.