Can We Play Sports with Heart Disease?

Can We Play Sports with Heart Disease?

by seoteam

In healthy people, regular sport is beneficial for the general state of health. It also prevents many pathologies. But is sport recommended for people with heart problems? Let’s discuss.

Sport and heart disease: compatible!

Contrary to popular belief, most folk with heart disease or who’ve had an accident (myocardial infarction) can practice a sport of low intensity. It is even highly recommended. Patients having coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, stable heart failure, congenital heart disease are also in it.

Except in exceptional cases, physical activity is not dangerous for a heart patient. It makes the heart more efficient, protects it longer, and prevents a new heart attack.

Be careful! Though, it is essential to consult a cardiologist or a health professional before embarking on sports. The cardiac patient must pass beforehand a whole series of exams. Such as electrocardiogram and stress tests. So that the cardiologist can establish a diagnosis and recommend the physical activities best suited to his heart disease and condition. The frequency, duration, and intensity of sports sessions will also depend on these criteria.

Benefits of Physical Activity

Physical activity has many benefits for the heart and arteries, even if the person has heart disease:

Improved myocardial performance: The heart contraction force increases. Thus, it needs less effort to propel the blood through the body. The heart rate decreases, that is to say, the heart beats more slowly at rest and during physical activity.

Decrease in blood pressure: Regular exercise improves blood circulation. It is a good way to fight high blood pressure. An overpressure of blood exerted against the artery wall increases the risk of ischemic heart disease (angina, myocardial infarction) and stroke.

Protection of arteries: Physical activity improves vasodilation of the arteries, blood will circulate better. Sport helps prevent clots in the arteries by reducing the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and the triglyceride level.

Reduced risk of diabetes: Regular physical exercises help maintain glycemic balance. It also helps to prevent and fight against diabetes2. That, in the long term, can lead to myocardial infarction, stroke, renal failure, etc.

Good to know: health professionals recommend people with a pacemaker to practice regular physical activity of low to moderate intensity. For example: walking, jogging, swimming…!

Focus on cardiac rehabilitation

After heart surgery, a heart attack, or heart disease, it is strongly recommended to use cardiac rehabilitation. It is a customized program that aims to prevent heart disease from getting worse. It helps better recovery after surgery and reduces the risk of future heart problems.

Some specialized establishments offer patients the possibility of staying for several weeks to recover, benefit from close medical follow-up. They also teach them how to live with heart disease (advice on diet, physical activity, and general lifestyle). Stay in a cardiac rehabilitation facility is not compulsory. Many heart patients prefer to go home directly after an operation or a myocardial infarction. However, this program is essential to recover, maintain an efficient cardiovascular system, and prevent new heart disorders.

Sports to be preferred or avoided

Men are indeed more exposed to cardiac arrest during a sporting activity. Whether this is due to the way of practicing sport or a real intrinsic predisposition remains a matter under investigation.

In our study, we’ve screened 28 sports. Some of them seem to be more involved than others. Such as jogging (27% of cases), basketball (17%) and cycling (14%). No big surprise in these results, since it is simply the most popular sports in Oregon

Endurance sports such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling are especially beneficial in cases of heart disease. Because they gradually improve the heart and respiratory system. It is generally recommended to heart patients to practice a moderate to low intensity sport. Play this endurance sport 20 to 30 minutes a day one to three times a week. If latter you find it difficult, it is possible to opt for 4 activity sessions of 5 minutes or 2 sessions of 10 minutes over the day.

Some sports are too intense, violent, and at traumatic risk. For example, tennis, badminton, football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, squash, boxing, martial arts, climbing, and diving. Such types of sports are strongly contraindicated. In some cases, cardiologists during regular cardiac monitoring suggest taking all precautions to an athlete suffering from a cardiac disorder.

In any event, the long-term benefits of the sport far outweigh the low short-term risks. Sudden death occurring during a sports session remains rare. This practice is strongly recommended, including for patients with cardiovascular risk factors. Follow the instructions of their attending physician.

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