Is workout good for our heart?

We are always told that exercise is good for the heart. Exercises reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart diseases & stroke. We are going to share physical adaptations to heart by a regular workout regime. Let us discuss in detail changes your heart undergoes in response to intense & regular workout.

  1. A big heart: Indulging in intense & regular workout enlarges our heart. With more advanced imaging techniques available now, we can measure changes & enlargement of our heart chambers. Our heart is made up of 4 differently sized chambers. The top two chambers are called atria while the bottom 2 are called ventricles. Although all 4 chambers are needed for our heart to function properly, the left ventricle is most important during a workout since it supplies fresh oxygenated blood. The size & volume of the left ventricle increases in response to workout. Exercises in life of people who earlier led a sedentary lifestyle can see an increase in volume of both left & right ventricles when ventricles are relaxed & fully filled up with blood. Enlargement of heart chambers allows more blood to be pumped with each heartbeat. The greater output of blood helps to supply exercising muscles.
  2. Thick heart walls: Regular & vigorous exercise helps to thicken walls of our heart chambers . This results from hypertrophy. This allows the heart to contract forcefully. Strength training leads to concentric hypertrophy which results in increase in thickness of heart chamber walls specifically those of left ventricles.On the other hand, endurance training leads to eccentric hypertrophy which leads to length wise increase in size of individual heart muscle cells. This results in a larger heart chamber & less wall thickening. A lot of sports & exercise results in a mixture of both forms of adaptation.
  3. Efficient & productive heart: An athlete or sportsperson heart becomes larger than average. This is the reason it demands more oxygen & nutrients to sustain it. More you train, the more efficient your heart becomes. The Hearts of athletes are better equipped at extracting oxygen from blood. This results in more efficient blood distribution through the heart.
  4. Low resting heart rate: An average human being has resting heart rate of 60 to 90 beats per minute. Having a big/enlarged heart makes you pump more blood per heartbeat & therefore your heart is not required to beat as fast to sustain adequate output of blood to tissues at rest. If you workout regularly, you will observe your resting heart rate to start dropping.

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PS: Originally published on www.thesushantkumar.com

Corporate finance professional turned Health & Fitness Entrepreneur, a fitness enthusiast, adventurer & trekking enthusiast