Your Heart and Cycling

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Your Heart and Cycling

Postby winstonw » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:33 pm

It's tiring hearing HTFU repetitively. I know around 60 odd cyclists well, 1/2 of who race.
In the last 4 months, 4 have had pacemakers inserted and two have had heart attacks, one of the guys having two 6 mths apart.
These guys are 46 to 62yo, have cycled regularly for at least 5 years, and are not overweight.

Interpret it anyway you like.
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by BNA » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:24 pm

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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby le_quiet_uno » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:24 pm

And I thought cycling was suppose to be healthy?! :)
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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby wombatK » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:14 pm

It is. Anecdotal evidence isn't the best source of advice you can find...
Risks of physical activity
There is a common fear that vigorous exertion can trigger cardiac arrest or sudden death. Indeed, a paradox of exercise is that physical exertion can increase the short‐term risk of sudden death, while at the same time provide protection against this risk in those engaging in habitual exercise.

A prospective study involving 21 481 male participants (free of CHD) in the Physician's Health Study reported 122 sudden deaths over a 12‐year follow‐up period.33 The absolute risk of sudden death during and up to 30 min after vigorous exercise was extremely low (1 sudden death per 1.51 million episodes of exertion). Those participating in habitual as opposed to occasional vigorous exercise were found to have a significant reduction in the short‐term risk associated with vigorous exertion. The risk was not entirely eliminated. These data confirm that habitual vigorous exercise diminishes the risk of sudden death during physical exertion.

The Harvard Alumni health study showed an increased risk of death in men who spend 3 h or more per week participating in vigorous sport.34 The British Regional Heart study also reported an increased risk of heart disease in men undertaking vigorous activity, compared to those taking moderate intensity activity (relative risk=1.68, p=0.05). However, the increased risk was only seen in men with hypertension (treated or untreated).35

Contra‐indications to exercise include unstable angina, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, exercise‐induced arrhythmias, severe stenotic or regurgitant valvular disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
from Physical activity: the evidence of benefit in the prevention of coronary heart disease
Maybe if you've got hypertension, or other contra-indications, you ought to be worried. If you don't know your blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc.,. and you're over 45, you ought to worry enough to get you to the doc for a checkup.

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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:31 pm

That's a comprehensive rebutal Wombat. Interesting numbers.
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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby matagi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:47 am

winstonw wrote:It's tiring hearing HTFU repetitively. I know around 60 odd cyclists well, 1/2 of who race.
In the last 4 months, 4 have had pacemakers inserted and two have had heart attacks, one of the guys having two 6 mths apart.
These guys are 46 to 62yo, have cycled regularly for at least 5 years, and are not overweight.

Interpret it anyway you like.

I interpret it as indicating there is a lot of hidden heart disease out there.
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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby winstonw » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:26 am

Vigorous exercise in the study quoted by Wombat is a met rate >=7.
For many male cyclists, 7 is around 120 watts, which is around 28kph on the flats.
For many cyclists, that's not vigorous, certainly not in the way high intensity interval training is, or racing, or riding anything with a gradient >5%.
Further, many cyclists would do over 12 METs when climbing. A study that determined risk with increasing exercise intensity would be more informative than the ones quoted.

"Contra‐indications to exercise include unstable angina, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, exercise‐induced arrhythmias, severe stenotic or regurgitant valvular disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy."
What % of cyclists know their sense of being stuffed during and after climbing a hill is not any of these? Three of the guys I referred to didn't.

One of three neurologists I spoke to several years ago strongly advised against HIIT exercise for 45+. But I suppose his view was anecdotal too.
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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby dynamictiger » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:44 am

I have hypertension, I am overweight by the books, and over 45 so would probably fit the target for a heart issue.

In addition two years ago I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and was a full 15 kg heavier.

Yes I have to go to the Doctor often for periodic check ups and do discuss with him my various activities before and during however if anything all of my indicators are substantially improved. Within a year of changing my lifestyle my blood pressure has reduced to the point where it is seldom outside 124/80 in fact we even got as brave as trying an alternative medication but weren't completely happy with the outcomes so went back. My cholestrol level hadn't come down however my good cholesterol had come up which my Doctor was happy with. As for weight...well yes I could maybe loose another 10 or perhaps 15 kg, however after that I did turn 10 and would struggle big time to come down to even an average weight.

A few years ago I had an issue with my stomach which caused chest pain and I was subject to stress testing which was effectively being on an exercise bike in a room with monitoring etc. So yes this does clearly stress your cardio system else they wouldn't use it that way.

Against this back drop I look at it this way.

The reason for the change is I started to notice folks older than me. Very seldom do you see a 70 year old who is over 165 cm tall. Why? Very seldom do you see a 70 year old who is as wide as a door across the shoulders. Why? In fact when I looked around I couldn't see many men as large as me older than me and I thought about this...a lot. I watched other men around me in my age group and looked at how they live, what they do and so on.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as perhaps I wouldn't have looked otherwise, both my parents died from diseases at a younger age than I am now so I had no guideline for 'older' living so I have to make my own decisions. I think this is part of the reason I have looked around so much.

I have reached a conclusion right or wrong based on anecdotal observations that exercise is overall good for you as you age. The odd over 70 year old I have met who is close to my dimensions does do some form of regular exercise. The other trend I found was that most of them did aerobic exercises e.g. cycle, swimming etc. This kind of makes sense as these groups of exercise are lower impact on joints etc. Therefore the risks associated with cardio failure are likely lower if I exercise than if I don't if I want to live past 60 years old.

Of course I can't tell you if all of this thinking, observations and so on are correct or incorrect. I am sure someone on this forum will have statistical evidence to support or discredit my point of view. However for my part I have decided I am more likely to live longer doing something than doing nothing and if I have got it wrong there is always insurance and at least I am trying.
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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby Marty Moose » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:23 am

winstonw wrote:It's tiring hearing HTFU repetitively. I know around 60 odd cyclists well, 1/2 of who race.
In the last 4 months, 4 have had pacemakers inserted and two have had heart attacks, one of the guys having two 6 mths apart.
These guys are 46 to 62yo, have cycled regularly for at least 5 years, and are not overweight.

Interpret it anyway you like.


Male cyclist who ride hard between the age of 46 to 62 should get regular check ups on their cardiovascular system to make sure they are a low risk for a heart attack. Being "not over weight" doesn't mean your cardiovascular system is healthy. Having cycled for at least 5 years makes no difference as cardiovascular disease occurs over time most of their damage was probably done pre 46 to 62.

That's how I interpret it :)

Also makes me think about their past history, and does this have any effect on your observations. Out of the 30 odd cyclists that you know between 46 and 62 having six of them with heart issues seems excessive. I would have thought we'd see many more of these types of issues at masters cycling races. HTFU is not at term I hear often I consider it a bit self defeating. Agree I'd also get sick of hearing it.

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Re: Your Heart and Cycling

Postby DaveOZ » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:51 am

After having a heart attack 6 months ago while cycling at 46yo and a mini stroke 3 weeks ago due to damage to my heart from the MI all I can say is take it easy guys. I have none of the major risk factors and my angiogram showed "normal" amounts of plaque lining in my arteries. I could have died twice in the last 6 months and I don't want to go through that again.

My cardiologist told me that consistent vigorous exercise is perfect but binge exercise at max heart rate is bad for people over 45. This may not apply to everyone of course but you have been warned.
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