Physical activity proves to be beneficial for people with a heart disease but based on two new studies, excessive intense exercise may increase a person's risk of death from a stroke or heart attack.
One of the studies examined 1,038 people with a heart disease for a decade and found that those who exercised vigorously every day were more than twice as likely to pass away from a stroke or heart attack than those who trained from only two to four days per week. Those who never or rarely exercised had the highest risk. However, an expert who was not part of the study said that exercise is good medicine in general.
"Folks with heart disease should continue to engage in some form of daily physical activity," director of The Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine Barbara George from Winthrop University Hospital in New York said. She added that moderation is important.
It is clear that inactivity is dangerous for heart disease patients and the association between intense exercise and death from heart disease is unclear.
The latest data indicates that strenuous physical activity could also have some adverse effects on the heart, the links are still not clear. It could be that intense working out may raise inflammation and oxidative stress which could explain the increase in deaths among those who exercise strenuously.
Another study by Dr. Nikola Drca from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, studied more than 44,000 men aged 45 years old to 79. The men were interviewed about their levels of physical activity when they were aged 15, 30, 50 and on the previous year. The team studied their heart health for about 12 years. The study found that endurance exercise ups the risk of atrial fibrillation, which is a cardiac arrhythmia that is not life-threatening but increases the risk of a stroke.
The benefits of working out are clear and not to be questioned and as per the researchers, it should even be reinforced. However, the studies suggest that recommendations for exercise should be fine-tuned to maximize the benefits and prevent the adverse effects, similar to other therapies and drugs that require moderation.