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  1. #1
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    Cycling and heart damage

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    Well I have had to stop racing now due to a heart complaint and according to the specialist it was more than likely caused through training too hard for cycling.

    Not 100% on this but did they not find Beryl Burton at the side of the road and that was a heart condition?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithGraham View Post
    Well I have had to stop racing now due to a heart complaint and according to the specialist it was more than likely caused through training too hard for cycling.

    Not 100% on this but did they not find Beryl Burton at the side of the road and that was a heart condition?
    Sorry to hear about your condition. Did you even read the article? It says that it has been found that cycling will *improve* heart health and can reverse heart damage.

    ...groundbreaking research shows that people can reverse age-related heart damage, but they need to make regular aerobic exercise—like cycling—a part of their daily lives before it's too late.
    This is old news, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drone 5200 View Post


    This is old news, of course.
    Are you questioning the journalistic integrity of Bicycling, the publication that tells us every month “how to get fit fast” and how to eat a hundred hotdogs but not gain weight?? 😄

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drone 5200 View Post
    Sorry to hear about your condition. Did you even read the article? It says that it has been found that cycling will *improve* heart health and can reverse heart damage.



    This is old news, of course.
    The study, if it's new, supports the trend that frequent, but short duration workouts are good. Does that sound like cycling culture? Nope. heh

    The study seems to be about workouts 4 days a week for 30min. Meanwhile, there is other talk about excessive high intensity workouts that might damage the heart and lead to an increased likelihood of arrhythmias. aka pain caves and what not

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    There was also this article in Velonews a while back about prominent racing cyclists developing heart problems later in life. My dad fits that to pattern to a T. He has ridden heavy duty mileage for 45 years now, and raced through the 1970s to mid 1980s. Got the Afib a few years ago, and now has had several surgeries for it but it keeps slamming him every few days despite/because of him still doing a good 200 miles a week.

    Cycling to extremes: Heart health and endurance sports | VeloNews.com

    I was developing palpitations at the start of workouts, and ended in ER a few times. but that was from a heart valve nodule I acquired some unknown time in my life unrelated to workouts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drone 5200 View Post
    Sorry to hear about your condition. Did you even read the article? It says that it has been found that cycling will *improve* heart health and can reverse heart damage.



    This is old news, of course.
    Yes did read it but was just making a comment in that you can also get problems doing too much too hard as I can vouch for.

    I know quite a few people with heart problems and they have all been told it’s down to the severity and amount of training they did.

    Keith

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    Like anything else, moderation is key as well as eating right and getting enough sleep.

    If you think you can do one thing, neglect all the others and be healthy, you're fooling yourself.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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    The articles on VeloNews and the book The Haywire Heart were a revelation to me.
    https://www.velopress.com/books/the-haywire-heart/

    I think the mentality that all exercise is good exercise can be dangerous. There is a lot that goes into it (predisposition, previous health issues, disease, age, etc...), but too much or too intense can be a problem, especially as we age. The heart is like any other muscle, except that it never really stops and rests. It can be damaged beyond recovery by too much/too intense exercise.

    I am in my mid 50's and ride ~10k miles a year. Some of it in semi-competitive events. I've always been good about keeping my Doctor informed about my physical activity (volume, frequency, intensity), but when I read The Haywire Heart, I bought him a copy, and we discussed making some adjustments. My intention here is to be able to continue to ride as much as I want without doing any (more) damage to my heart (or knees ).

    I hired a coach to establish a specific training regimen that limited high intensity efforts, and focused on endurance/Z2 and managing stress/fatigue, with the occasional SST/Threshold bocks and a 2x10 min FTP test every six weeks. I actually feel a lot better now. My energy is better, and I don't need as much recovery time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Like anything else, moderation is key as well as eating right and getting enough sleep.

    If you think you can do one thing, neglect all the others and be healthy, you're fooling yourself.
    yep, gotta practice moderation for sure. Cycling is addicting and can easily be over done.

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    My cardiologist tells me that but for cycling,I would likely be dead. I ride a lot of miles (7000+) yearly. However almost all are at medium intensity. If I want to push the heart rate, I do it in the gym

    The dangers of over doing it have to be measured against alternatives like sitting around gaining weight.

  12. #12
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    The last thing you think of before dying is usually " I wish I did more things in moderation".
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

    If you feel wimpy and weak, get out and train more, ya wee lassie!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Fascinating stuff. Sure, the key to fitness is stressing out beyond what you're used to, recovering, and doing it again. The trick is how much beyond and how long the recovery period? The second trick is deciding when to level off or slow down the training regimen, or change to routines that you're more comfortable performing, also known as the aging process.

    The older you get your maximum heart rate goes down, the muscles lose mass, and the little quirks that build up over the years start making stuff go wrong. Some competitive 65 year olds might be fitter than 25 year old newbies, but their bodies aren't going to sustain that level forever. The question is, how much longer?

    Article says pros live to old ages because they quit racing by their mid 30s and coasted the rest of the way on very healthy hearts. My uncle lit gas street lamps in Kansas City in the '20s, riding a cruiser bike. He attributed that training, in all its aspects, physical as well as mental, to his excellent health. He walked until the day he died at age 90. Most people can't say that.

    I'm following the doctor's advice to the 104 year old Swiss cyclist who thought he should cut back on his 100 miles a week routines at a plodding aerobic pace, and do shorter rides with short intervals at higher intensities. In a couple of months, his legs got stronger and his times improved. That says to me the training techniques can remain the same as with younger riders, just modified to maintain the balance between rest and exercise, giving the body more time to recover.

    Not trying to brag, but the nurses a year ago were impressed with my EKGs, although I have blood pressure readings 10 points higher than desirable, a family trait. Doctor looking at the x-ray of the fractured collar bone congratulated me on my "small" heart, an indication of a muscle in fit condition. He said older people [I'm 74] get enlarged hearts from loss of muscle tone sitting around all day getting no vigorous exercise. I'd rather kick off to the next life at the top of a hill on the bike than wasting away for months in a "rest home." From what I've seen it would be like reverting back to kindergarten.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 01-15-2018 at 08:43 AM.

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    too much of anything can kill, yep, even taking too much water can kill, then definitely too much exercise can kill too. Rule of moderation.

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    Sorry for those who have developed Afib or other arrhythmia that limit your activities; however, there's still no solid correlation between intense exercise and these maladies. Much more is down to predisposition/genetics, etc. The Haywire Heart is largely just a bunch of anecdotes sensationalized to sell books and other motivations (though the impact on the individuals is very real and regrettable). But yeah, proper rest and nutrition is increasingly important as we age. Other than that, use it or lose it.
    Well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion man. - The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldChipper View Post
    Sorry for those who have developed Afib or other arrhythmia that limit your activities; however, there's still no solid correlation between intense exercise and these maladies. Much more is down to predisposition/genetics, etc. The Haywire Heart is largely just a bunch of anecdotes sensationalized to sell books and other motivations (though the impact on the individuals is very real and regrettable). But yeah, proper rest and nutrition is increasingly important as we age. Other than that, use it or lose it.
    Chip,
    Can you provide any scholarship that debunk's what many believe...that an aging heart subjected to too much prolonged exercise at too great an intensity can cause a heart attack due to arrhythmia? To me it just makes sense. Hardening and lost of heart muscle elasticity out of sync with a heart electrical system....lack of muscle elasticity reducing tolerance for a heart staying in rhythm...many endurance athletes....runners and cyclists have died from this condition.

    Please provide the counter narrative if you would since you stated the article is BS.
    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 11spd View Post
    Chip,
    Can you provide any scholarship that debunk's what many believe...that an aging heart subjected to too much prolonged exercise at too great an intensity can cause a heart attack due to arrhythmia? To me it just makes sense. Hardening and lost of heart muscle elasticity out of sync with a heart electrical system....lack of muscle elasticity reducing tolerance for a heart staying in rhythm...many endurance athletes....runners and cyclists have died from this condition.

    Please provide the counter narrative if you would since you stated the article is BS.
    Thanks.
    You have the burden of proof backwards, I'm afraid. The assertion is that it DOES cause damage in many/all cases. You can't prove a negative. So far all we've seen are anecdotes. E.g. I'm on a Masters (or Veterans using the EU terminology) team with over 80 racers ranging from 40+ to 70+. I'm aware of 2 people who have had heart issues and one of those can still race (with doctor's approval) with an implanted pace-maker.
    Well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion man. - The Dude

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldChipper View Post
    You have the burden of proof backwards, I'm afraid. The assertion is that it DOES cause damage in many/all cases. You can't prove a negative. So far all we've seen are anecdotes. E.g. I'm on a Masters (or Veterans using the EU terminology) team with over 80 racers ranging from 40+ to 70+. I'm aware of 2 people who have had heart issues and one of those can still race (with doctor's approval) with an implanted pace-maker.
    For heart arrhythmia, the most likely heart condition to affect endurance athletes, your experienced 2.5% rate very nicely matches the 2% rate of heart arrhythmia seen in the general population.

    And it doesn't take much to find studies that show high intensity training effects cardiac electrical changes. The first one that came up on a google search is a study from the British Cardiovascular Society. The study showed that individuals the performed 10 intervals to 90-100% heart rate repeated 3x/week showed evidence of cardiac electrical changes after 6 weeks. Whether this causes a problem long-term for an individual is where the hereditary traits comes into play. Note that the evidence in this study is from measuring the T-wave alternans commonly used as an indicator of arrhythmia risk. There are plenty of other studies out that show similar results.

    Your claim that this is all anecdotal is flat out wrong.

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    There is a an increasing volume of evidence that says extreme endurance is bad for the heart.

    http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org...473-9/fulltext

    I believe this issue has firmly moved out of the realm of "anecdotal evidence" and into the realm of "mounting evidence".

    However, these studies are hard to conduct due to the difficulty of following subjects over a lifetime, and cost involved. This is not to mention the confounding factors, such as endurance athletes tend to lead a healthy lifestyle, so that "in spite of" their extreme exercise, their heart managed to stay in good shape. But perhaps if their lifestyle is bad, and they participate in extreme endurance activity, then they would die off sooner than otherwise? I always believe that if you do endurance exercise, it doesn't mean you can eat anything you want, nope, if anything you need to eat healthy co compensate for the beating that your cardio vascular system is taking.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 01-15-2018 at 11:30 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tka View Post
    For heart arrhythmia, the most likely heart condition to affect endurance athletes, your experienced 2.5% rate very nicely matches the 2% rate of heart arrhythmia seen in the general population.
    QED. So no enhanced risk - from this sample anyway. Thank you for proving my point.

    I would also observe that a number of the studies referenced in the survey article you posted deal with marathon or ultra-marathon runners, address cases with undiagnosed underlying pathology, and a significant number have a relatively small sample size if one wants to make a generalized recommendation. Also, there is no standard definition of "extreme" or even "endurance" athletes. The conclusion I draw from all of these articles is that each person/case is unique and people should carefully consult with their physician(s) considering their own history and risk factors.

    These's no evidence to support a caution to one and all.
    Last edited by OldChipper; 01-15-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldChipper View Post
    QED. So no enhanced risk - from this sample anyway. Thank you for proving my point.

    I would also observe that a number of the studies referenced in the survey article you posted deal with marathon or ultra-marathon runners, address cases with undiagnosed underlying pathology, and a significant number have a relatively small sample size if one wants to make a generalized recommendation. Also, there is no standard definition of "extreme" or even "endurance" athletes. The conclusion I draw from all of these articles is that each person/case is unique and people should carefully consult with their physician(s) considering their own history and risk factors.

    These's no evidence to support a caution to one and all.
    I posted no such thing. I posted a specific study that showed specific negative effects of intensive exercise. Please do not mischaracterize what I have written to suit your agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    The older you get your maximum heart rate goes down, ....
    Yes - I've seen the charts but haven't found the age-related drops in my case (at least not yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Like anything else, moderation is key as well as eating right and getting enough sleep.
    For all the people saying moderation is key - where's the line? More & more studies appear to be showing that hi-intensity interval training is beneficial. Hi-intensity & moderation are obviously not the same (duh!).

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithGraham View Post
    Well I have had to stop racing now due to a heart complaint and according to the specialist it was more than likely caused through training too hard for cycling.
    My questions above were not / are not theoretical. I had mitral valve repair ~10 years ago. My cardiologist thinks I was born with the issue & suggests that I can do anything I want in terms of training. I've always been a hi-intensity type of person (ie: moderation in most things is not a core competency). I frequently wonder if earlier weight training* or gut-busting biking (both MTB & road) may have contributed or been the cause of the damage. I've had periodic echo cardiograms since the surgery & prior to the surgery had tests that showed no deposits in my circulatory piping. I'm continuing with my hi-intensity ways but have been leaning toward knocking it back a few notches....

    * I had trouble putting on muscle mass but not for lack of effort (think of the guy in the gym who people stop to watch because it looks like his face is going to explode).
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  23. #23
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    None of us are getting out of here alive.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RL7836 View Post
    Yes - I've seen the charts but haven't found the age-related drops in my case (at least not yet).

    For all the people saying moderation is key - where's the line? More & more studies appear to be showing that hi-intensity interval training is beneficial. Hi-intensity & moderation are obviously not the same (duh!).

    My questions above were not / are not theoretical. I had mitral valve repair ~10 years ago. My cardiologist thinks I was born with the issue & suggests that I can do anything I want in terms of training. I've always been a hi-intensity type of person (ie: moderation in most things is not a core competency). I frequently wonder if earlier weight training* or gut-busting biking (both MTB & road) may have contributed or been the cause of the damage. I've had periodic echo cardiograms since the surgery & prior to the surgery had tests that showed no deposits in my circulatory piping. I'm continuing with my hi-intensity ways but have been leaning toward knocking it back a few notches....

    * I had trouble putting on muscle mass but not for lack of effort (think of the guy in the gym who people stop to watch because it looks like his face is going to explode).
    Go for it, man!

    I was forced to cut way back on riding about 2 years ago with two upper body injuries and colon surgery. I'm finally recovered, make it up the little 1/4 mile climb when hitting the MUT as good as ever. I've discovered even a ten minute ride a couple of miles on errands is as good for the legs as those 20 miles rides I used to consider minimum. 45 minutes to an hour works great. I'll do a ten minute warmup in an easy gear at 90 rpm, then attack a hill, sprint to make a green light, or pace faster riders after they pass and get a hundred yards ahead.

    My takeaway: Go ahead and do the high intensity intervals, get the HR into anaerobic, but by all means never lose form. When that happens I'm "overdoing it." That's how I've come back from these injuries. No longer try to wring out every ounce of energy in the interval. When heart threatens to jump out of the chest and tunnel vision sets in, I back off to what the legs can handle. My Max. HR is probably around 155. 30 years ago I got it up to 173 once in a group sprint on a club ride, and thought I was going to die.

    Riding with old racers, almost all still in their 60s, I know they're much fitter than I'll ever be, but I'll hang onto what I've got and work with it. The legs can work generally all the time around 120-125 bpm. That hasn't changed in 30 years. I attribute this to training and conditioning. The heart muscles have held up very well. OTOH, AT was around 160; now its around 135. I attribute that to aging and less miles, factoring in the conditioning of the rest of the organism.

    Older riders don't die; they just fade away. The old guys I used to ride with aren't out there anymore. They get sidelined with an injury or other physical problem, stop riding in their 70s, and never get back into it--or they get to the end of the road and finally kick off. I have yet to meet an 80 year old rider. They pop up in Europe all the time. Its probably a difference in bike cultures. Seeing all those skinny old guys leading the A rides, the US may have caught up!
    Last edited by Fredrico; 01-15-2018 at 09:02 PM.

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    ...Not only in bike culture but in the diet. And BTW the diet has definitely an incidence on the heath of your heart.

    The fat percentage of an average US citizen is much higher than an average western European citizen! You don’t see also many western European bikers weighing 210-220lbs or more.....

    There is still a big gap between the US and western Europe in terms of biking and bikers.

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