Sports can enlarge the heart

  chelsea8611 07:30 26 Jul 2008

Sports can enlarge the heart

Researchers are beginning to understand the precise impact various forms of exercise have on the heart.

Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that 90 days of athletic training produces significant changes in cardiac click here
structure and that the type of change varies with the type of exercise performed. Their findings – which may some day benefit heart disease patients – appear in this month's Journal of Applied Physiology.

The researchers studied two groups of student athletes at Harvard: endurance athletes – 20 male and 20 female rowers; and strength athletes – 35 male football players.

Echocardiography studies – ultrasound examination of the heart – were taken at the beginning and end of the period. Participants followed normal training regimens.

Both groups had significant overall increases in the size of their hearts. For endurance athletes, the left and right ventricles – the chambers that send blood into the aorta and to the lungs, respectively – expanded. The heart muscle of the strength athletes, however, tended to thicken, a phenomenon that appeared to be confined to the left ventricle.

The most significant functional differences related to the relaxation of the heart muscle between beats – which increased in the endurance athletes but decreased in strength athletes.

  €dstowe 07:44 26 Jul 2008

There's nothing like researching things that are already known.

For many years cardiologists have been recommending exercise for heart patients recovering from myocardial infarction (heart attack) to aid the strengthening of the heart muscle though working it and to encourage revascularisation.

The problem arises getting the patients to do the exercising. The majority feel that making their heart do something strenuous will bring on another attack so they tend to sit around doing nothing and avoiding all exercise apart from breathing.

All major cardiac centres are already equipped with exercise clinics with gymnasia and apparatus designed to give the heart a good workout.

A cardiologist friend always recommends getting a dog as an important part of making a good recovery from heart attacks.

  Quickbeam 08:01 26 Jul 2008

You don't even have to read medical journals to know that.

Beefy Botham has been telling us that for years in the Shredded Wheat ads...

  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:14 26 Jul 2008

10 out of 10 to Massachusetts General Hospital for stating teh bleedin' obvious. Next thing is that they will discover that smoking could affect your health.


  spuds 14:51 26 Jul 2008

Sounds a bit like another scientific research funding exercise. Pity some of these researchers do not look at things, that have been less researched.

  mrwoowoo 19:11 26 Jul 2008

Is everyone missing the point here?
The way i read it,it's not suggesting that the effects on the heart are a good thing.
In fact it's saying that what we thought was accepted as good for the heart,may infact be bad.
The heart muscles of the strenght atheletes tended to thicken.This is a condition called Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and is not a good thing.
An enlarged heart,which both sets of atheletes gained is also a medical condition and not a bi procuct of regular exercise that you would welcome.
The way i read it,i take it as a warning.

  al7478 20:02 26 Jul 2008

it wont open for me.


  mrwoowoo 23:19 26 Jul 2008

Thanks for the excellent link.
At least i understand it now.

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