Dr. Hansaji Yogendra
Gym was once considered to be a place to promote physical well-being and cardiovascular health. However, in recent times, an alarming increase in the number of heart attacks occurring at the gym has become a cause of concern. In this article, we will find out the reasons behind the increasing number of heart attacks at the gym and discuss ways to reduce this risk.
Lack of Prior Medical Evaluation
One significant reason behind the increase in gym-related heart attacks is the absence of proper medical evaluation before beginning an intense exercise regimen. Many individuals, in their eagerness to improve their fitness, jump into strenuous workouts without considering their existing health conditions. Pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or undiagnosed heart problems can be aggravated during intense exercise, leading to cardiac events.
Solution: It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on a new fitness program, especially if you have underlying health concerns. A comprehensive medical evaluation, including stress tests, can identify potential risk factors.
Overexertion and Poor Training
Gym-goers often tend to push themselves which leads to overexertion. Excessive weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, or endurance exercises without proper training and technique can put immense strain on the heart. This can lead to heart attacks, especially among those who are unaccustomed to rigorous workouts.
Solution: Seek guidance from certified trainers who can design personalized workout plans and ensure proper form and pacing. Gradual progression in intensity is key to preventing overexertion.
Ignoring Warning Signs
Many individuals tend to ignore warning signs of a potential heart issue during exercise, especially symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness to fatigue or stress. This delay in recognizing symptoms can be life-threatening.
Solution: Be aware of your body and pay attention to any unusual sensations during exercise. If you experience symptoms like chest discomfort, light-headedness, or severe fatigue, stop exercising immediately and seek medical help.
Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance
Inadequate hydration and electrolyte imbalances can increase the risk of heart-related issues during workouts. Sweating excessively without fluids and essential minerals can disrupt the body’s electrolyte balance, potentially leading to arrhythmias or even heart attacks.
Solution: Stay well-hydrated before, during, and after your workout.
For some, the gym can become a high-stress environment due to competition or unrealistic body image goals. Elevated stress levels can contribute to an increased heart attack risk, as stress hormones can strain the heart and elevate blood pressure.
Solution: Maintain a relaxed and positive attitude toward exercise. Focus on your personal development, rather than looking at what others are doing. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing or meditation into your routine.
Misuse of Supplements
The misuse of supplements and performance-enhancing substances is another factor contributing to gym-related heart attacks. Some individuals take excessive amounts of stimulants, such as pre-workout supplements, which can lead to irregular heart rhythms or hypertension.
Solution: Always follow recommended dosage guidelines for supplements, and consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplements into your routine.
The increasing number of heart attacks at the gym is concerning, highlighting the importance of exercising safely and responsibly. To reduce the risk of cardiac events during workouts, individuals should prioritize medical evaluations, seek professional guidance, listen to their bodies, and maintain a balanced approach to fitness.
Dr. Hansaji Yogendra is Director, The Yoga Institute