Bodybuilding is the process of gaining muscle fibre by exercising. As this requires heavy exercise, a controlled diet, and a certain lifestyle, many people think that it is bad for the heart. If you have any heart issues or concerns about your heart, you may wonder, is bodybuilding bad for your heart?
Bodybuilding does not harm your heart. In reality, It does the opposite. Bodybuilding can increase heart rate, stamina, blood circulation, and muscular coordination. However, sometimes it can be detrimental. Many bodybuilders take steroids to build up their bodies fast and develop muscle tissues. Taking frequent steroids affects the heart and causes heart failure.
There are different types of exercises and methods to build an ideal aesthetic body. Some of them can affect the heart fatally. Previously there has been a lot of cases where bodybuilders died of heart failure. If you are curious to find out more about bodybuilding and how it may affect your body, I will share them in the rest of the article.
Bodybuilding reduces fat, increases circulation and strengthens heart muscles. All of which help to prevent all sorts of heart diseases.
Bodybuilding comes up with a lot of exercise, training, balanced eating, and a good amount of rest. Many people think that a large amount of muscle in a bodybuilder’s body can be harmful to the heart but it is absolutely nothing but a myth. There are no proven studies in this context. According to American Heart Association, the risk factors for heart diseases are-
As bodybuilding includes a lot of exercises, what it does is benefit our health and body. It helps to prevent heart diseases. Let’s look at what changes your body may go through when you take up bodybuilding-
The more you exercise, the more your heart pumps blood. This improves blood circulation. For your body to obtain proper oxygen and nourishment it requires good circulation. Working out actually helps you do that.
By working out you also train your heart. As a result, it can pump better and ensure blood flows through your arteries and veins more effectively.
Bodybuilders usually take cardiovascular exercise and strength training. The advantage of strength training is that it reduces the risk of life-threatening heart attacks and strokes. It improves your lean muscles and provides places for your circulatory system to direct the blood it is pumping. As a result, there is less pressure on your arteries.
Exercising regularly lowers your blood pressure significantly. Cardiovascular exercises include running, swimming, cycling, etc.
In case of heart issues, what matters most is fat, not body muscles. Cholesterol and fatty chemicals move through the bloodstream and can clog arteries. Clogged arteries lead to heart attacks and strokes when the level of cholesterol gets too high.
Cardiovascular exercises and strength training have been proven to reduce them. In addition, these exercises increase good cholesterol and metabolism that protect the heart from heart diseases.
Regular exercise improves the quality of sleep. When you’re well-rested, you will feel energized. Better sleep will lower your stress and illness. Proper sleep helps the heart as less sleep is one of the risk factors for heart diseases according to American Heart Association.
Natural bodybuilding is a fantastic sport for your overall health and organs. But the fact is taking drugs, or more specifically, steroids can lead you to danger and life risk. Taking steroids is not uncommon among bodybuilders. That’s why we hear a lot of news of bodybuilders dying at a young age, especially due to heart issues.
Bodybuilding can cause heart issues if you take steroids, over-exercise or if you bulk up to an extreme level. Natural drug-free built muscle works in conjunction with the heart to pump blood around the body.
Bodybuilders have bigger bodies than normal people. A bigger body needs a larger amount of blood pumping. The oversized body puts the heart under so much stress causing the heart’s left ventricle to be hypertrophic.
The human body has its biological limits. It is not okay to think a bigger body has a bigger heart. The heart muscle cells have two overlapping layers called strings. These strings function by contracting the whole heart by binding each other and bending.
If you workout hardcore frequently, the heart muscle and its cells get bigger too. Then the overlapping strings grow further apart. Sometimes so far that the strings can’t reach or bind each other, essentially causing heart failure. This means your heart will not pump blood correctly.
Another thing is that sometimes bodybuilders take a lot of steroids to get bigger than they actually can. The steroids don’t affect the heart directly but indirectly. Very high doses of steroids increase blood pressure. It can raise the LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) levels which can clog arteries causing heart attacks and other heart issues.
People with heart issues can almost always start bodybuilding. But before that, they need to evaluate themselves. If you want to start bodybuilding from the very start you should start with some light exercises. Also, before starting any new exercise program, you should consult with your doctor. However, all types of exercises are not suitable for all people with heart disease.
For example, weightlifting is not recommended if you have-
Proper diet is the first thing that you should consider. Also, make sure not to push yourself too hard and do light exercises if you have any sort of heart condition. Finally, you should definitely stay away from steroids.
The heart is the centre of your cardiovascular system. It is involved with many organ functions. So, you should prioritize your heart most.
Taking care of the heart as well as building the body is not difficult if you choose the right path and method. For bodybuilding, you should start with a healthy diet.
Steroids are very famous in the bodybuilding community. They help you train harder and put on more muscle. But steroids can be dangerous for even healthy hearts. They increase LDL production and cause heart blocks. As a result your heart reaches a point when it can’t pump blood properly to the whole body or to itself.
As a result it causes –
After diet comes exercise. Besides a few sorts of heart diseases, your heart condition should not come in the way of your workout routine. But, on the chance that you have one of those few debilitating heart conditions here are some exercises that you can do.
Aerobic Exercise: This exercise is suggested by many doctors as it helps in improving heart issues. This improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. It includes walking, running, swimming, playing tennis, jumping rope, etc. You should do these exercises at least 5 days per week, minimum of 30 minutes a day.
Resistance Training: Resistance training reduces fat, makes leaner muscle mass, helps to raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. This exercise includes working out with hand weights, dumbbells, barbells, push-ups, squats, chin-ups.
Stretching, Flexibility, and Balance: This is a kind of a pre exercise warm-up. People do this before and after being done with other exercises. You can go for yoga and other stretching fitness regimes for this.
Always consult your doctor before choosing a workout routine. He can guide you to what you should or should not do and help you design a workout plan specifically tuned to personal needs and limitations.
The heart is a very sensitive organ in our body as well as important. If you were wondering, is bodybuilding bad for your heart, then I’m sure you have your answer by now.
You should maintain a balance among everything from dieting to exercising. Also, don’t go beyond your limit and you will be completely fine. And always remember to consult your doctor before making any sort of radical life changes.