We human beings were believers in the fact that too much of anything is bad for our health. Well, it seems that too much cardio is probably not bad for our health. Wondering why? Keep reading.
According to some research, ultra-fit athletes like marathon runners can suffer from cardiac damage like heart scarring or arrhythmia – which led to the conclusion that too much cardio might be bad for health.
However, a recent study indicated otherwise. The researchers found out that even though ultra-athletes had some calcium build-up in their coronary arteries, they were healthier than the group of people who had moderate exercise.
Selecting the participants for the study was a difficult task. Initially, healthy individuals between 40 and 65 years of age were chosen who had been competing and training for at least 10 years in various events like triathlons and ultra-marathons. Another group of healthy people from the same age group were selected who got at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Both groups went through a screening process to ensure that none of them had other health factors like high cholesterol, obesity, or hypertension, that might affect the results.
Next, the groups went through an aerobic fitness test, echocardiograms, and cardiac fibrosis tests. The results were surprising (and myth-busting).
- A higher percentage of the ultra-athletes had calcium deposits. However, their overall cardiovascular health was better than the other group. As a result, the team concluded that an extreme amount of cardio might not be harmful.
- Apart from calcium score, blood pressure, age, and cholesterol levels were used to determine the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Most of the athletes were below the threshold.
- Finally, the researchers put all the data into a risk calculator for coronary heart disease, only to find that the ultra-athletes were not at higher risk than the control group.
Finally, all that being said, some people might have other health factors, including a family history of heart disease, that they should discuss with their doctors before dedicating themselves to extreme cardio.