Push yourself, but not too hard
Hyderabad: Exercise is good for one’s health. But then, how do people, who appear to be very fit, die of cardiac arrests all of a sudden? The recent deaths of actors Puneeth Rajkumar and Sidharth Shukla has prompted this question, with experts pointing out that there are dos and don’ts for exercise.
T Vinod, a fitness expert at Cult Fit, says the key is to push yourself, but not too hard.
“I see many people working out for hours in the gym, without understanding their body type. Different bodies react differently to a workout session. People get worried when they do not lose weight or gain muscles, while others working out along with them are achieving their goals. Do not compare your fitness journey with others. Also, trying to get in shape like a celebrity can develop several health issues, as the celebs have a team of experts to help them. Working out for five days a week, for 40 to 45 minutes, is more than enough to ensure a healthy life. Pushing past your limits can hurt your heart,” he says.
Dr Harikiran PVSC, Cardiologist, at KIMS hospital, suggests that although regular exercise helps strengthen the heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular problems, long-term, strenuous exertion does increase immediate risk for heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. “Doing some daily exercise is beneficial. However, before one hits the gym, I suggest that people get a full body check and consult a doctor. These check-ups will help in understanding your body better, and treat any underlying medical conditions that can be a potential problem in the future,” he points out.
“The most basic thing that people ignore while in the gym is to go slow. You can’t start heavy exercises right away. You have to first get your body used to the new rhythm. Otherwise, it is difficult for your heart to cope with the sudden exertion. Also, everyday start your workout session with at least a 10 to 15 minutes of warm-up. Make sure that you spend at least five to ten minutes cooling down after the workout sessions,” he adds.
Experts also point out that a good diet, adequate hydration and controlled protein supplement intake is also necessary to keep your heart fit.
“Many people think that to stay fit they have to avoid many food items. This is not true. Our body requires everything from proteins to carbohydrates and even fats to keep our body running. Eliminating any element completely can be very harmful, not just to the heart, but also other vital organs including kidneys and liver over a period of time,” Tulasi, senior dietitian, KIMS.
“Several people lead a sedentary lifestyle, including smoking, drinking and junk food, for five days a week, and hit the gym over the weekend,” says Tulasi. “This is more harmful than not going to gym. Set a regular workout schedule. Ensure that you do not stress yourself too much — physically or mentally. Stress is also harmful to the heart,” she added.
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