The human heart is vital to life. It is important that each person takes care of their heart. When you are an athlete, the risks become even greater. The general perception is athletes are in better shape and health than everyone else. However, there are some issues that need to be addressed.
Athletes have died from heart attacks while in training and during play. Their hearts failed for various reasons.
Congenital Heart Defects
Some athletes are born with a congenital heart defect that goes undetected and leads to an early death (hole in the heart, valve defect). It is best to see a cardiologist to evaluate your heart health and learn of the potential risks.
The Strain Of When You Train
Some athletes die from the strain sports places on their heart, which was unable to cope with the rigors of their sporting life.
Teens and adults who play sports have died from heart attacks. It varies from athlete to athlete. Therefore, each person must be individually evaluated by a licensed doctor.
The larger the athlete the more susceptible they are to a heart attack. The heart works harder to pump blood in larger people. When you add the rigors of sports to the equation, it can become a recipe for heart failure, if the necessary precautions are not taken.
Athletes need to take care of their heart health. There are a number of ways to do so.
Caffeine And Sports Drinks
Limiting caffeine intake is a smart step to not overstimulating the heart. Some athletes live on sports drinks. Some brands of sports drinks are packed with caffeine. The premise behind it is caffeine makes people more energetic. However, too much caffeine can lead to a heart attack.
Years ago I read about a store manager who had four sports drinks to keep him energetic at work during the night shift and he died of a heart attack.
Just the same and even more so, an athlete consuming too many sports drinks and working out/training/playing would induce a massive heart attack.
Some athletes take cocaine when they are depressed due to career problems. This is not a good idea for anyone, but even more so for an athlete, who is already working their heart in practice and play, more than the average person. Cocaine wreaks havoc on the body, especially the heart. It speeds up the heart rate to unsafe levels, which can lead to a heart attack. It also narrows the arteries over time, which can also lead to a heart attack (arterial blockage).
Ecstasy is another bad drug that can lead to a fatal heart attack, especially when taken in tandem with alcohol.
Some athletes also take steroids, which batter the heart. A number of wrestlers have died from heart failure due to steroids use. There is no safe way of taking steroids. It damages the body and could cost you your life if you don’t stop taking them. It’s not worth it.
Athletes need to train as smartly as possible. Sports teams design their training programs to get the maximum effect. However, athletes when training on their own, take the initiative to push themselves to new heights. However, they can do too much and over work the heart. Athletes should speak to their doctor and a qualified trainer to make sure they are not overdoing it when they train on their own.
Some larger athletes have a very poor diet full of red meat and fried foods, as their girth is a part of their dominance in sports (boxers, rugby players and linebackers in American football).
It is better to eat more lean chicken and turkey, than red meat that clogs up the arteries. Yes, you can have red meat, but not to excess. Adding grits, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yam to your diet, in tandem with vegetables, whole grains, leaner chicken and turkey, can help you maintain size.
Avoid stress whenever you can. Stress will wear away at your heart faster than age ever could over time. Stress can be a real killer. Stress can induce a fatal heart attack or stroke. Stress is also a cause of cancer.
Make a concerted effort to remove stress from your life. I know it can be difficult, but it is essential to eliminate as much stress as possible from your life for the sake of your health and well being.