Have you been told that you have an “athlete’s heart”? This was likely diagnosed with an echocardiogram at a cardiologist office or hospital. Athletes can have changes to their heart. Sometimes this is a problem, most times it is not.
An athlete’s heart often exhibits specific adaptations in response to regular and intense physical training. These adaptations are commonly referred to as “athlete’s heart syndrome” or “athlete’s heart.”
Here are some typical features:
- Cardiac Hypertrophy:
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH): Athletes often have a larger and thicker left ventricle of the heart. This is a natural adaptation to the increased workload and demand for oxygen during exercise.
- Increased Stroke Volume:
Athlete’s hearts tend to have an increased stroke volume, allowing them to pump more blood per heartbeat. This is a result of the larger ventricular chamber and enhanced contractility.
- Lower Resting Heart Rate (Bradycardia):
Due to the increased stroke volume, athletes often have a lower resting heart rate. This is an efficient adaptation, as the heart is capable of pumping more blood with each beat.
- Increased Cardiac Output:
Cardiac output, which is the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute, is typically higher in athletes. This is a combination of the increased stroke volume and lower resting heart rate.
- Enhanced Oxygen Delivery:
Athlete’s hearts may have a greater capillary density in the muscles, allowing for improved oxygen delivery to working tissues during exercise.
- Adaptations in Electrocardiogram (ECG) Patterns:
Athletes may show certain changes in their ECG patterns that are considered normal for them, such as increased vagal tone leading to a more pronounced vagal tone-related response (e.g., sinus bradycardia, first-degree heart block).
- Lower Blood Pressure at Rest:
Regular exercise can contribute to lower blood pressure at rest, promoting cardiovascular health.
An echocardiogram can reveal most of the above findings.
Of concern is that an athlete’s heart, and extreme endurance activity, can lead to an increased risk of coronary calcification and atrial fibrillation.
This is clearly not a good situation.
In my opinion and observation, most athlete’s do not Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well. Example. Run a marathon or century ride and suck down power bars, synthetic goo, and toxic energy drinks.
In short, the body generates a lot of free radicals as waste during exercise. So one needs a lot of antioxidants to combat the oxidative stress.
So you need to Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well. You need to Test, Don’t Guess.
Grab a free coaching call with our team to find out more how we can help you.