Heart attacks at gym: What to keep in mind before pushing your fitness limits

Exercise is good for health, but over-exercising may not be! How much workout is too much can depend from person-to-person, based on their agility, stamina and most importantly, heart health. In the recent past, we have seen several heart attack cases in gyms. Popular Indian comedian Raju Srivastava is the latest notable name to have lost his life over 40 days after he suffered a heart problem while working out on a treadmill. It is such instances which underline the importance of keeping heart and health parameters in mind before pushing oneself into weight-lifting and intense workouts.

For World Heart Day 2022, Health Shots reached out to Dr Bhupendra Singh, Consultant Cardiology, Manipal Hospitals, Ghaziabad, to understand the likely reasons behind the increase of heart attack in gyms.

Raju Srivastava heart attack
Comedian Raju Srivastava recently lost his life after suffering a heart attack following a treadmill workout. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips to avoid heart attack in gyms or during workout

There are many types of gym people. Some people go to the gym just for aerobic or cardio exercise and while some people go to the gym for heavy weightlifting or intense workout. “Simple aerobics and cardio don’t cause many problems but yes if a person is into intense workouts then they need to check all the parameters like they’re not deranged or don’t have any underlying cardiac problem,” says Dr Singh.

According to the expert, the following health tips should be kept in mind before opting for an intense gym session.

1. Be aware of prior health issues

People who are going to the gym should ensure that they should not have any prior cardiac condition or chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of coronary artery disease.

Besides, it’s good to know what happens to your heart when you do some basic exercises. Watch this Health Shots video to know more!

2. Don’t ignore basic health tests before joining a gym

“Just like before taking part in a full marathon, it is recommended to go for at least a basic checkup, the same thing should be done for an intense workout in the gym, especially heavy weightlifting,” suggests Dr Singh.

There are people, who have the propensity to develop cardiac arrest during an intense workout and there is a certain congenital or hereditary problem. These things need to be ruled out before joining a gym for intense or heavy weightlifting.

There are tests that can rule out any such kind of problems like there are blood tests and specific cardiac tests in the form of ECG and ECH (Echocardiography). Unstable parameters can indicate risk factors of heart attack.

Tests for heart health
Get your heart parameters checked at regular intervals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

* Echocardiography:
It tells us about the overall structure or overall pumping or functions of the heart and how the valves are working and if there is any congenital heart disease one can have is present or not. These conditions can be ruled out just by doing simple echocardiographic tests.

* Treadmill test
Another form of the test is the treadmill test or stress echo test in which a patient is subjected to the treadmill test and at the same time his ECG is recorded. This helps to find how the heart is performing at peak exercise or peak stress.

Also read: Cut your risk of heart diseases by adopting these 5 lifestyle changes

3. Watch your diet to avoid heart problems

As far as diet is concerned, one should take natural products instead of supplements which are very prevalent these days, especially in young people going to the gyms, says Dr Singh. The focus should be on heart-friendly foods.

Follow these basic tips for heart-healthy diet:
* Avoid refined sugar
* Consume a carbohydrate-rich diet
* Ensure you consume more protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables
* Stay away from deep-fried things and packaged food like namkeen, and biscuits
* People should take healthy oils which are recommended, especially olive oil, sunflower oil, and soyabean oil. Avoid vegetable oil or palm oil.

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