Even if you’re a seasoned athlete, you still need to pay attention to how your body is responding to exercise each time. Endurance athletes and others who work out for long periods can experience changes to the heart muscle (thickening and enlargement) that might elevate the risk for sudden cardiac events.
Research has suggested that the exercise habits of people like marathon runners, who can run mile after mile over the course of years, “can lead to structural changes in the heart, which in turn could lead to heart attacks and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm),” explains Dr. Fred Soliman, a sports medicine physician with the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute in Florida and team physician for the University of Central Florida. “Other studies have found individuals who participate in excessive exercise habits can lead to increased rates of cardiovascular disease as well.”
Additionally, researchers of a small 2019 study in PloS One found that amateur triathletes (who were working out for about 27 hours per week on average) had signs of sustained overactivity of their cardiovascular sympathetic nervous system when compared to healthy, sedentary non-athletes. The study noted that these signs could be a risk factor for future cardiovascular events. Researchers observed that over time, the stress of each workout could result in changes to the body’s response, potentially increasing the risk of a cardiac event.
That said, exercise is still good for you. The axiom…