As athletes, we take pride in our physical conditioning.
Even though heart health isn’t something that’s at the forefront of our minds when we’re working out, it’s a muscle that gets stronger with training like any other.
Some people suggest extreme levels of intense exercise can be bad for your heart health and could increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
However, a lot of evidence shows rigorous training can actually benefit the heart.
Here are four ways your fitness could lead to a stronger heart.
Better Circulation In Small Vessels
Regular cardio stimulates blood flow to the small vessels surrounding the heart which can become clogged with fatty acids over time.
Circulation in these areas helps flush out the blockages to decrease your risk of heart attacks.
Exercise can also stimulate more connections between these vessels to form so the blood has more pathways to travel.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Research from 2001 showed that 3-5 bouts of moderate to intense exercise per week can lower blood pressure significantly.
High blood pressure is a precursor to heart disease and heart attacks.
The reduction is likely caused by the increased levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol associated with exercise.
Promotes Healthier Eating Habits
You’ve likely noticed that when you're training at high levels, it motivates you to eat healthier and live an all-round cleaner lifestyle.
Researchers have found it is the case that a training regime promotes better nutrition, and a healthy diet is one of the best things we can do for our heart health.
Increases Resistance To Blockages
Exercise can make the heart more resilient to heart attacks through a process called ischemic preconditioning.
It basically occurs when blood is unable to flow to an area of the heart due to a blockage.
The principle is that if this occurs when you exercise, it causes the heart to adapt so it is better able to deal with a loss of blood supply in future.