Heart problems in endurance sports

I recently received a question below and decided to share the answer, because I thought that doubt colleague is relevant and that many might have the same curiosity.

Good Night Rodrigo!

I’m triathlon practitioner for two years and training on average 8h to 11h per week, with guidance from an advisory and annual cardiological examinations.

Reading some recent research articles regarding the cardiological harm of high intensity aerobic sports as triathlon, I confess I was a little worried about this news and studies from universities and medical researchers worldwide Renowned on the subject, mainly because they are heart problems that are generated in the long term

Here are a few articles:

You being a triathlete and experienced coach and updated in the world of triatolon, would like to know your opinion and point of view on the subject and if you know any article that refutes these surveys?

My answer:

I’m cardiologist then I will send my personal opinion , based on the very little I studied about it and according to my experience.

We’ve never had so many people doing so much exercise for so long. A 20 year over here, more people started to exercise regularly and participate in long-term endurance events.

Exercise has countless benefits, but what science has shown to us is that exercise to do well has a limit, and although this limit is not exactly clear (I think there’s a single factor there), I think the long-term tests, do not do as well as you think.

what you see is that many professional triathletes of the 90s, now we have joint problems (a lot of people with knee replacement and hip replacement, normal thing for ladies and gentlemen in their 80s and not for a supposedly healthy person) as well as some cases of athletes who developed heart problems. But as for the heart problems I think they are within the normal range, which for many anomalies affects around 1% of the population.

However, these facts cited in one of the links shared by you (small scars in heart tissue, decreased immunity after long trials, change of heart function after long races) does happen and many studies attest to this.

doing one or the other Ironman lifelong, although not proven to do well, I think in the long run this would have major implications in people’s lives. But making one or more Ironmans every year, year after year, I think that’s what can bring disastrous consequences to the body. Especially with a deficit preparation, as has most of amateur athletes.

Another thing that should be assessed, is that it has very athlete making use of banned substances such as anabolic steroids, EPO, Growth Hormone (HGH) and steroids, and the indiscriminate use these substances can indeed influence the emergence of heart problems. At the professional level, we should not deceive us because I think a lot of athletes make use of banned substances, and unfortunately the number of amateurs in the same situation has increased. No surpreeenderia me if we had anti-doping test on the evidence and we discovered that most of those who qualify for the Ironman Hawaiivacuum and takeThey make use of banned substances. I say of course it has exceptions, know and accompany some athletes that are absolutely clean, but there are people using has. I myself am totally against the use of any such substance and usually do not train people to make use of prohibited substances.

But the doubts, I think:

You must instead make medical care and cardiological year (cardiac tests, complete blood count …).

I think his range of training hours is safe (8-11h). Really I believe that even a 15h weekly workout CAN be healthy if the athlete can get enough sleep and eat properly amaneira. But I think the ideal for health would be somewhere between 6-8h / week; and to optimize the results of an athlete who wants to compete evidence 1-2h, is around 8-12h / without training.

The training must be accompanied by a good professional to help you control and balance your workout. Ideally the manager should monitor your fitness curve / athlete fatigue.

For health reasons, I think the legal limit triathlon race, cycling and MTB tests to less than 3 hours (Xterra, olympic triathlon, sprint triathlons, duathlons, aquathlons …). Half Ironmans, can be healthy if the athlete has adequate preparation (worth reading your workouts They match your reality? ), And if the evidence is not made ​​many times a year. I think even a proof of 70.3 per year can be healthy, more than that I think not. Again, I point out that this is my personal opinion.

I think the intensity is much more important than the training volume, and the older I get, I see that bigger is my need for rest days in my week. Currently I try to do two days of complete rest per week, in order to recover me from my training demands, and perform like look in the days of more intense workout.

Additional training: over the years the complementary activities become more important. Activities such as Pilates, Exercise and Yoga are essential to prevent injuries and to ensure their longevity in the sport. What is your ideal activity? It depends on your limiting, athletes with little flexibility and core issues would benefit greatly from Yoga classes, athletes with significant muscle imbalances would benefit greatly from weight training and Pilates. Myself, I adopt several of these activities throughout the year. In the summer usually get firmly in Yoga, during the winter months where my training volume falls just like to devote myself to the weight training to prepare my body for more pulled workouts that usually happen in the heat.

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