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Very intense exercise can damage our arteries in the long run

The moderate physical exerciseby age, and regular way This is one of the most important medical recommendations. Help to prevent disease risk of all kinds, and esp cardiovascular problems.

This does not mean that any exercise is going to be good. Some may have certain negative repercussions which makes us have to rethink the comfort in changing the routine for a more suitable one. This is what several studies show, regarding the high intensity sports.

Intense exercise affects the heart

These recent studies suggest that very intense sport favors the occurrence of diseases related to coronary arteries. That is, problems in the tubes that carry blood to the heart with the oxygen and nutrients required to keep running. The most famous are angina pectoris and heart attack.

Intense sports such as marathons increase the risk of coronary heart disease

There is not much conclusive data, so it is not easy to establish a cause-effect relationship. “However, it appears that the incidence of these diseases increases in those people who they run marathons they practice it extreme sports or high intensity for many years“, has the doctor Eduard Guasch, cardiologist at the Hospital Clinicfrom Barcelona.

What is not known for sure is why, if the exercise strengthens the heart, causes the opposite effect. Researchers led by Dr Guasch wanted to answer this question.

Intense sport, moderate or sedentary?

The study has the effect of intense exercise by laboratory mice. was done in an animal model In order to control the exact exercise intensity for long periods of time.

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Mice were divided into three groups:

  • The first has a moderate routineimitation of an active life.
  • The second was set to perform intense exercise, on a treadmill periodically and for four months, as the extreme athletes.

As a guide, this would be the equivalent of approx ten or twelve years of practice in people”, explains Dr Guasch.

  • The third was left locked in cages, to imitate the sedentary life.

After the 16 weeks of exerciseanalyze how it was the arteries, especially the aorta, the main one leaving the heart, and its endothelial function. The endothelium It is the inner layer of blood vessels. If you are relaxed, it will blood circulates smoothly.

endothelial function is a early marker of atherosclerosisor hardening of the arteries, leading cause of heart attacks of myocardium”, says the cardiologist.

How does it affect the arteries?

In compared to a sedentary lifestylethe research found that high-intensity physical exercise:

  • Remove and increases the stiffness of the arteries aorta and carotid.
  • Increase cell stiffness and promote rupture of blood vessel walls.

However, these effects are not observed in the case of moderate exercise.“, points out Dr. Guasch.”In contrast, both intense and moderate exercise improve endothelial function, although intense activity appears to balance the processes of dilation and constriction of blood vessels“.

Intense exercise causes a process similar to the aging of the arteries and can cancel out the benefits of moderate exercise.

Intense exercise does not directly cause atherosclerosis, but rather another process, similar to vascular aging. In addition, this type of activity can also reduces the benefits of moderate exercise”, concludes Guasch.

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The exercise that suits you

Are these changes irreversible? The study has the limitations that it was done on animals. However, the mechanisms involved in these arterial changes remained unchanged four weeks later stopped doing physical activity.

The conclusion is therefore that, to the best of our ability, we all need to exerciseor. You must practice to protect the most important muscle, that of the heart.

Moderate exercise is walking for three minutes at least three times a week.We recommend the doctor Josep Brugada, also a cardiologist at the Clinic.

Any traditional sport is heart healthy. “The swimming is especially suitableas it strengthens the muscles without over-straining the joints“, emphasizes Dr. Brugada.

On the contrary, the marathons”they end up becoming almost a drug: turn obsession into setting new goals“, Add. “We have entered a absurd trend and we lose the north of what is the purpose of the sport“.

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