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Should Heart Patients Avoid Exercise? Busting Myths For Heart Patients

The incidents of heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest in young people have been increasing over the last few years. As the disease burden is on the rise, individuals need to take care of their health. People should keep in mind that looking fit doesn’t always mean that they are actually fit – so it is critical to shift the mindset from reactive care to preventive care. 

People with heart conditions doubt if it is safe for them to work out. A lot of people assume that exercising after a heart attack might adversely affect their heart health. The recent example of Raju Srivastava's health condition while working out in the gym has further increased debates and apprehensions regarding heart health. However, in reality, inactivity is worse for heart patients and may also lead to an earlier death. According to the American Heart Association, after a heart attack, maintaining a regular exercise regime along with taking other strides toward improved heart health ensures a longer and better quality of life. 

The most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest during intensive physical activity is diagnosed or undiagnosed blockages in the heart. Over time, fat, calcium etc can build up as a plaque in the heart’s arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart muscles. During heavy exercise, the reduced blood flow can cause a heart attack. Problems with electrical impulses that control the heartbeat can also result in cardiac arrest that proves fatal. 

There are a few common myths and misconceptions about heart diseases that people should be aware of. 

Young people are less susceptible to heart disease than people over the age of 60 

People believe that only older people are affected by heart conditions. However, there is no particular age at which someone has poor cardiovascular health. This is because genetics and lifestyle can have a major influence on cardiac health in all age groups, be it children, adolescents, and adults. 

People with heart diseases should not exercise 

Exercise is important for everyone’s overall health. However, the intensity of exercise may differ for people with different medical conditions. There are bleak chances of cardiac arrest or heart attack due to exercise, when done safe limits in consultation with a physician. Exercise helps strengthen the heart muscles and improves blood flow in the body. 

Things to keep in mind while exercising: 

  • One should know their physical capabilities while planning to go to a gym or engaging in sports. Competing against others while being unaware of the body's capabilities might be harmful to your health. It is necessary to know your body. 
  • One should try skipping the gym on days when they're feeling under the weather or not at their healthiest. Pushing oneself on these days can increase the risk. 
  • Add breathing exercises to the routine for keeping the body calm and for maintaining blood flow during strenuous training sessions. 
  • One must include heart-healthy foods like beans, berries, and a lot of green leafy vegetables in their diet. These all include antioxidants and vitamin K, which helps to lower blood pressure and defend against inflammation. A good diet reduces the risk of heart disease. 
  • Hire a trained fitness professional to guide you through the workouts and help you reach your fitness objectives. 
  • Maintain regular check-ups with the doctor to monitor weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the state of any injuries. 
  • One should stop exercising if one is feeling any heart-related symptoms. 

Some people who have undergone cardiac treatment may feel that their hearts are vulnerable and start avoiding exercise. It is true that the heart needs time to heal, but it is crucial to keep in mind that inactivity is one of the primary causes of heart disease. In reality, physical activity may be an aid to healing. One should consult a doctor for advice on how to resume normal activities safely after a diagnosis of a heart problem, as well as what exercises one may do to strengthen the heart. 

Only men suffer from heart disease

One of the major myths related to heart problems is that they only affect men. The fact is that heart problems are the leading cause of death in both men and women. While men tend to develop cardiovascular diseases at an earlier age than women, it does not mean it does not affect women.

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