How fitness freaks need to follow rules on treadmill for heart health

While exercise is essential for good health, fitness freaks must be mindful of their health conditions to prevent injury, especially to their heart, said experts on Friday.

Stand-up comedian Raju Srivastav was reportedly running on the treadmill when he suffered cardiac arrest and was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi. Srivastav, 59, continues to be “critical and on ventilator”.

“If someone above the age of 50 years is starting to go to the gym, then it may be better to get yourself checked by a cardiologist or do a stress test,” said Dr Tilak Suvarna, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai.

“Avoid overdoing any exercise. Moderate exercise is good enough to reduce your risk of a heart attack,” he said, adding that work out should be immediately stopped if one “gets symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath or light-headedness while working out.

“One should also keep well-hydrated and avoid going to the gym on a full stomach,” he advised.

While obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and old age are traditionally existing reasons for heart ailments, health experts suggest increased workouts, stress, and Covid, adding to the risk.

Post Covid, heart attacks have been significantly on the rise, especially in celebrities often touted as fit and healthy. “Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai” actor Deepesh Bhan (41), Marathi actor Pradeep Patwardhan (65), singer K.K. (53), Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar (46), “Balika Vadhu” actor Sidharth Shukla (40)… the list of celebrities who lost their lives to heart attack is long.

“Post-Covid, there has been a rise in heart attack or cardiac arrest cases among people during a gym workout. Youngsters and middle-aged people are at the most risk as they are more likely to be the victims in such cases,” said Dr Ashish Agarwal, HOD Cardiology, Aakash healthcare.

“Going to the gym does not imply that your heart is in good shape. Many fitness enthusiasts, irrespective of age, use steroids or synthetic proteins which are not safe at all. Also, engaging in an intense workout or too much physical activity too quickly can injure the heart, especially in beginners or people above 40,” he added.

Agarwal advised people with hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes, to consult a cardiologist before beginning gym training.

“Heart attack cases were on the rise even before Covid arrived. However, it is a significant risk factor because it raises the likelihood of blood clot development in patients suffering from long Covid. However, individual cases may differ,” he noted.

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