Gymming: Dos and don’ts for heart health
Dr Manish Hinduja, Consultant-Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, says, “If you over-exert at the gym, it leads to a sudden increase in the workload of the heart and in vulnerable patients, it may lead to heart-related issues.”
Dr Hinduja gives us these tips to keep in mind while exercising:
1) Treadmill: Start gradually, walk or run slowly for the first 5 minutes. Have alternate periods of slow and fast running. The treadmill inclination should be minimum and steep running is not advisable. For beginners, you should only gradually escalate on speed and duration of exercise.
2) Weight training: Start with lower weights. Increase the frequency and then increase the weights.
3) Monitor your heart rate while gymming: Your heart rate should be less than 70% of your maximum heart rate (that is 220 – your age). Ideally, your heart rate should not be above 140/150 per minute when you exercise.
4) Check for symptoms: Some people sweat a lot. Sweating alone is not an issue but sweating with chest heaviness, jaw pain, and pain in the left hand – are all markers of heart disease. Get a medical checkup done at the earliest.
5) Other exercises: Post 45, if you are not into gymming, you can do 30-40 minutes of brisk walking, aerobics, playing an outdoor sport or dancing.
Is the TMT (treadmill test) enough?
Often people do the treadmill test or TMT to decide if one’s heart is fine. But experts point out that doing the TMT alone is not enough. “No test is 100% diagnostic; TMT is 68% sensitive and says 77% specific for ischemic heart disease. Roughly, this means that even if TMT report is normal, there’s a 30% chance of having ischemic heart disease,” says Dr Hinduja.
Regular heart checkups: List of tests to be done
For those who have a family history of heart disease, Dr Hinduja suggests that they should start routine medical check-ups from the age of 35. “Those who don’t have a family history of heart problems can start from 50. Every five years, routine heart check-ups should be done. After 60, a routine health check-up should be done every 2-3 years. Routine health checks include ECG and 2D echo. The best test to find out blockages in arteries is coronary angiography; and for valves-related issues, it’s 2D echo.”