Very intense exercise can damage our arteries in the long term

The moderate physical exerciseaccording to age, and regular way It is one of the main medical recommendations. Help to prevent disease risk of all kinds, and especially cardiovascular problems.

That does not mean that any exercise is going to be good. Some may have certain negative repercussions that make us have to rethink the convenience of changing the routine for a more suitable one. This is what several studies are showing, in relation to the high intensity sport.

Intense exercise affects the heart

These recent studies suggest that very intense sports favor the appearance of diseases related to coronary arteries. That is, problems in the tubes that carry blood to the heart with the oxygen and nutrients needed to keep running. The best known 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 seems that the prevalence of these diseases increases in those people who they run marathons or practice extreme sports or high intensity for many years”, warned the Dr. Eduard Guasch, cardiologist at Hospital Clínicfrom 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, moderate or sedentary sport?

The study evaluated the effect of intense exercise through laboratory mice. has been done in an animal model In order to precisely control the exercise intensity for long periods of time.

Mice were divided into three groups:

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

As a guide, it would be the equivalent of about ten or twelve years of exercise in humans”, explains Dr. Guasch.

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

After the 16 weeks of exerciseanalyzed how it was the arteries, especially the aorta, the main one that leaves 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:

  • Dilate and increases the stiffness of the arteries aortic and carotid.
  • Increases cell rigidity and promotes rupture of blood vessel walls.

These effects, however, 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 seems to alter the balance between the processes of dilation and contraction 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 a different process, similar to vascular aging. In addition, this type of activity could also reduce the benefits of moderate exercise”, concludes Guasch.

The exercise that suits you

Are these changes irreversible? The study has the limitations of having been done on animals. However, the mechanisms involved in this arterial change remained unchanged four weeks later having stopped doing physical activity.

The conclusion therefore is that, to the best of our ability, we all have to exerciseeither. You have to exercise to protect the most important muscle, that of the heart.

Moderate exercise is walking at least three times a week for three quarters of an hour.we recommend the doctor Josep Brugada, also a cardiologist at the Clínic.

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

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

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