Can too much exercise be bad for you? Could the hours spend conditioning as an endurance athlete actually be damaging your heart?
Sounds counter intuitive… until you read this new book from author Chris, Managing Editor of VeloNews – The Haywire Heart – How Too Much Exercise Can Kill You and what you can do to protect your heart.
Beyond listening to our discussion below, you can get a Cliffsnotes understanding by reading Chris’ original article, Cycling To Extremes, that was developed into his book.
Are endurance athletes hurting their hearts by repeatedly pushing beyond what is normal?
The sun was bright upon the upturned redrock Flatirons above Boulder, Colorado. It was a beautiful July morning in 2013. Lennard Zinn, a world-renowned technical cycling guru, founder of Zinn Cycles, longtime member of the VeloNews staff, lover of long rides, and a former member of the U.S. national cycling team, was riding hard up his beloved Flagstaff Mountain, a ride he had done a thousand times before. But this time, it was different.
His life was about to change forever.
When his heart began to flop like a fish in his chest, and his heart rate jumped from 155 to 218 beats per minute and stayed pegged there, his first reaction was simple: “I went into denial.”
He arrived to the ER that afternoon and was later brought via ambulance to the main cardiac unit for an overnight stay. Though he trusted the cardiologists and the ER doctor, he doubted their warnings. His denial was strong.
After following their recommendations for rest, he returned to training; the electrodes glued to his chest and the telemetric EKG unit dangling around his neck didn’t disrupt his routine. But the annoying episodes happening with increasing frequency during his more intense rides did. The flopping fish would return as his heart rate spiked. More upsetting was the phone call in the middle of the night from a faraway nurse who had been watching his EKG readings and had some shocking news: His heart had stopped for a few seconds.
Listen to the Podcast here – and then be sure to order and read this book. Then share what you’ve learned with your classes. You just might save someone’s life!
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.