Exercising is something that all health experts are talking about. We ourselves are taught from a very early age that exercise is good for health. After all, a healthy mind lives in a healthy body! However, it should always be remembered that anything in excess can be really dangerous. The more extreme efforts we try to get to something, the more harmful it can be to us. Likewise, pushing the body beyond its limits can cause serious health complications. In the recent past, comedian Raju Srivastav and Canadian superstar Puneeth Rajkumar lost their lives out of nowhere while working out at the gym. This makes people wonder “Are we exercising to death”? It also begs the question – how much exercise is too much?
Health problems that can occur during exercise
- Rhabdomyolysis: Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome involving muscle breakdown and damage. When muscles are injured, they release their contents, including a muscle enzyme called myoglobin, which is a protein, into the bloodstream. The enzyme can damage the kidneys and cause kidney failure in up to 40% of cases. It can also harm the kidneys’ ability to remove urine and other waste. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death. However, timely treatment often leads to a good result. This happens most often in weightlifters and marathon runners who wear out their muscles while dehydrating, especially in hot conditions. Rhabdo can also be caused by drinking too much alcohol and can also be related to taking too many creatine supplements or anabolic steroids.
- Electrolyte imbalance: An electrolyte imbalance occurs when electrolyte levels become too high or too low, which is a sign of another problem in the body. Body chemistry can go dangerously off the rails in the form of an electrolyte imbalance, which can result from either too much (hyper-) or too little (hypo-) of a given electrolyte. This may be caused by a hard workout combined with a grueling weight loss program and/or a sudden sugar rush. Extremely rapid weight loss can cause serious problems with changes in the body’s electrolytes. It affects people who suddenly eat or drink after preparing their bodies for a fasting diet.
- Exertional heat stroke: Technically called hyperthermia, “exertional heat stroke” is a potentially deadly combination of overheating your system while exercising too hard. While there is some evidence that training in hot weather can improve cardio ability, it is also true that too much heat, especially when the body exceeds 104°F or 40°C, can have a devastating effect on your body. Symptoms include confusion, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
- Hypothermia: Hypothermia, defined as when the body’s core temperature drops significantly below the normal 98.6°F or 37°C, is commonly associated with alpine sports. However, hypothermia can often creep up on casual athletes in several other scenarios, including long-distance swimming. A long sweaty run in cold weather can also cause hypothermia. Once you stop running, a sweat-soaked shirt can cool quickly, forcing the body to warm not only itself but also any gear, putting you at risk of hypothermia. A sweatshirt should always be close at hand and quickly changing into dry clothes should be a priority.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can be one of the most common ailments during exercise and is potentially one of the most dangerous. Exercising in hot, humid weather or in a hot, humid gym, or sweating profusely, can put a person at risk for dehydration, which occurs when the body loses far more water than it takes in. While mild dehydration is usually manageable, severe dehydration can create dangerous electrolyte imbalances. When the body’s water reserves begin to dry up, the concentration of electrolytes increases. Severe dehydration can make the body appear to have far more electrolytes than normal.
Heart attack during exercise
Cardio is defined as any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for an extended period of time. So it’s somewhat obvious that it puts a strain on the heart while someone is doing cardio, as the heart has to pump blood faster to keep up with the body’s high demand for oxygen.
A sudden reduction in blood flow causes damage, especially to a healthy heart that is new to working with low blood flow. If the heart is already weak, then it has passed through this state.
Fat, cholesterol, and other things that build up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle are called plaques.
When this plaque ruptures in an artery of the heart for some reason, a blood clot forms there. This blood clot blocks blood flow, which can lead to a heart attack.
What can cause a heart attack during exercise?
Sudden cardiac arrest during exercise or strenuous physical activity can occur mostly because of existing blockages, diagnosed or undiagnosed, in the heart.
Blockages in the heart result from cells and cholesterol particles breaking through the endothelial cell barrier and penetrating the lining of the artery. This leads to the formation of a bump called plaque in the artery. Too much physical stress can cause “plaque to rupture or cause electrical disturbances in the heart,” further leading to cardiac arrest.
Exercise is vital to preventing heart disease. It is generally safe for most people, but precautions should be taken, especially if:
- Your doctor has told you that you have one or more of the risk factors for heart disease
- you have recently had a heart attack or other heart problem
- you have been inactive before
Low impact exercise are also useful for people with heart disease.
How to stay safe while exercising?
People with heart disease can almost always exercise safely if they are evaluated in advance. However, exercise is not right for all people with heart disease. While in the initial phases of training, the key is to start slowly to prevent unwanted effects. Consulting a health expert before starting a new exercise program is also smart. There are some cases where the entire exercise routine is planned and supervised by medical professionals.
Despite these precautions, it can be difficult for a doctor to predict health problems that a person may experience while exercising. It is wise to become familiar with the symptoms that may indicate dangerous complications. Being aware of some typical warning signs of a heart-related problem can be potentially life-saving.