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SPORT AND HEART DISEASE

For a long time, we believed that people suffering from heart disease couldn't do sport due to the risk of aggravating the illness. However, it is now recognised that sport can be beneficial to them as long as they follow a few basic rules.

SPORT AND HEART DISEASE

Indeed, even though regularly doing sport can have positive effects on heart disease, certain precautions must be taken and you should consult your doctor before beginning any activity.

HEART DISEASES

There are many heart diseases, the most widespread being coronary heart disease. There are also several other types of heart condition:

- innate, congenital or genetic diseases such as heart deformities
- degenerative diseases often caused by old age
- random diseases.

The symptoms of heart conditions are also very diverse. You must pay attention to any pain that could signal a heart disease: chest pains (sharp pains, feeling of suffocation, crushing…), excess perspiration, headaches, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, stitches, abnormal shortness of breath, fainting, fatigue, severe weakness, sleeping problems, oedema…

COMBINING SPORT WITH HEART PROBLEMS

Contrary to popular belief, those suffering from heart disease can also do a physical activity if they follow a few basic rules.

If you suffer from a heart condition, the sport you do should be adapted to the level of effort your heart can cope with. This is the only way in which you can safely do sport. It helps you get your heart back to work and reduces other heart disease risk factors such as diabetes and obesity.

The sports recommended for those suffering from heart disease are walking, running in moderation, cycling, swimming and gentle gymnastics such as yoga. 30 minutes of walking 3 times a week at a normal rate on flat ground helps you improve your heart's pumping capacity by around 12%!

SOME PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE

All athletes should take care of their heart by consuming little alcohol and avoiding smoking. Even if you don't suffer from a heart condition, be aware of and watch out for the signs of illness as you approach your forties. If you are doing intensive sport, get medical check-ups from the age of 35 for men and 45 for women. Of course, if you suffer from heart disease, you must be particularly careful and attentive to the slightest discomfort while doing sport.

- Kit yourself out with a heart rate monitor to check your heart rate during exercise.
- Warm up and recover for at least 10 minutes before and after a training session.
- Hydrate well before, during and after exercise.
- Avoid any intensive activity in outside temperatures of less than -5°C or above 30°C.
- Stop or adjust your exercise if you feel unwell.
- Tell your doctor about any pain, discomfort, palpitation or unease occurring while you exercise.

THE BENEFITS OF SPORT ON HEART DISEASE

Generally, sport is always good for the heart. If you don't have a heart condition, it allows you to develop, strengthen, improve endurance and reduce the effects of ageing on your heart.

Those suffering from a heart condition will see their physical capacities diminishing and will often lose confidence in their abilities. A suitable sport, practised regularly, can retrain your heart and give you back your confidence in your abilities.

Physical activity can help the heart in the case of:

- ischaemic heart disease or angina: sport can reduce the amount of work your heart does and improve its vascularisation to prevent it suffering
- heart failure: sport helps increase the heart's pumping capacity and improve the oxygen supply to the muscles
- heart transplant: a light physical activity can improve the transplanted heart's ability to adapt to the body's work, fight the anti-rejection side effects of the treatment and develop the body's functional capacity.

Don't forget: you must consult your doctor before starting any physical activity. Only they can tell you if you are fit enough.