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Endurance Exercise and the Heart - Insights from the Marathon Runners

By Dr. Gary Mak

Endurance exercise and heart disease - insights from the marathon runnersRegular endurance exercise results in increase in blood volume, eccentric left ventricular hypertrophy and therefore higher stroke volume. The parasympathetic system became dominant and the Vo2 max is also increased. These changes may reverse quite quickly on detraining. There are also strong evidences that high intensity and prolonged endurance damage our heart. The short term and long term effects are discussed. The risk of sudden cardiac death would be further increased in athletes with underlying heart disease. Pre-participation cardiovascular evaluation is useful in identifying these potential lethal cases. The use of the latest non-invasive tests in such situation would also be discussed.

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