Extreme Exercise Does Not Harm Heart Health

In the past, middle-aged men were told that they needed to avoid extreme exercise because they were putting their hearts at risk. However, a new study has contradicted that advice. The study found that middle-aged men are not putting their health at risk by engaging in vigorous exercise.

Dr. Benjamin Levine works is the director of Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine. He stated that middle-aged men who engaged in vigorous exercise and did not have hardening in their arteries were able to cut their risk of death by 50 percent. Dr. Levine stated that vigorous exercise is clearly protective and not harmful.

One of the reasons that people thought that vigorous exercise was harmful in the past was because athletes had more calcification in their arteries. However, none of the previous studies examined anything else. Dr. Levine stated that the calcification did not matter if people were not more likely to die.

Extreme exercise was defined as eight or more hours of exercise per week at 10 Metabolic equivalents, which are also known as METs. Playing competitive tennis, basketball, cycling at 14 MPH and jogging are examples of extreme exercise.

The reseearchers measured the athletes’ CAC scores. The study found that the athletes with low CAC scores were half as likely to die as inactive men with similar CAC scores. Athletes who had high CAC scores had a 23 percent lower risk of death than inactive men.

Dr. Levine pointed out how the heart can benefit from vigorous exercise. It helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Exercise also allows the blood to flow freely. Additionally, if there is plaque in the arteries, then it will be less likely to rupture.

Women were not included in the study because they had a lower risk of death in middle age.

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