Most cardiologists, and doctors in general, prescribe a healthy dose of exercise in addition to a good diet and medication, and rightfully so, as regular physical exertion is one of the most effective ways to ward off heart disease and stroke. Yet all good things must be limited, so here are some instances where not exercising (at least for some time) can be better for your heart:
1- Abrupt Dizziness:
A sign of insufficient blood supply to the brain, heart, and/or muscles, often due to dehydration or lack of food before exercising, dizziness can usually be overcome by a short water or snack break mid-exercise. However, if the problem persists despite these measures, it could be a sign of hypertension, a heart attack, a nervous or heart valve issue, or even diabetes, particularly if coupled with profuse sweating, confusion, or fainting; in which case, stop exercising and seek immediate medical attention.
2- Unusual Shortness of Breath and Irregular Heartbeat:
A healthy individual’s breathing gradually normalizes after a bout of physical exertion, but if that isn’t the case, and you suddenly start gasping for air or feeling short of breath during or after an exercise, when that wasn’t the case a few days or weeks ago, might be an indicator of an underlying heart condition or exercise-induced asthma.
Patients of hypertension currently using blood pressure stabilizing medication may feel slightly lightheaded, as blood pressure is lowest 30-60 minutes post-workout; gradually increasing to a normal rate. However, experiencing low blood pressure symptoms during exercise may signal heart and lung issues, or even a stroke or brain tumor, in rare cases. Either way, discontinue until you get properly checked by a Cardiologist.
4- Chest Discomfort:
Mild to moderate chest pressure accompanied by nausea and extreme sweating while exercising, particularly for heart patients and those at high risk of developing heart conditions, may require an urgent trip to the emergency room as it can be a sign of an early-stage heart attack due insufficient oxygen supply to the heart. Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) may also be the culprit if fluttering sensations accompany the above symptoms.
5- Starting Too Quickly:
Whilst the best candidates for heart disease control or prevention via exercise are overweight individuals, they are also at higher risk of heart attacks and other instantaneous heart issues due to over-exertion. Therefore, a gradual build-up from mild to more strenuous exercise in order to accustom oneself and differentiate between normal and abnormal changes in fatigue level, heart rate, and sweat level is necessary. Pre-exercise warm ups and adequately paced routines are also recommended.
6- The ‘Burn’:
Burning sensations during exercise means that the muscles are becoming acidic due to excess lactic acid production, which is required for increasing muscle strength and endurance in most cases. However, heart patients and high-risk individuals may benefit more from reducing their exercise intensity until the burn subsides, gradually increasing it after.
Know What’s Right:
- Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
- During an exercise, make sure that you’re breathing too hard to sing, yet just enough to be able to carry a normal conversation.
- Feeling your muscles burn a little is healthy, but if you experience unusual muscular pain or burning, stop immediately, rest, and try a different exercise or the same exercise at a lower intensity.
- It is also normal for your heart to beat a little, not a lot, faster while exercising.
Whether you are healthy, a heart patient, or an at-risk individual, do not assume that the above symptoms mean permanently foregoing exercise. Consult with your doctor on an optimum exercise routine, and when to resume. You can also book an appointment with a top Cardiologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your heart-health concerns.
About the Writer:
Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected]