Protection for the heart with endurance sports

Protection for the heart with endurance sports

Exercise is one of the best ways to build adequate protection against heart disease in your body. Just one hour of endurance sport per week can almost halve the risk of heart disease. We give tips on how you can enjoy endurance sports and do something for your heart health at the same time.

Tips for beginners and returnees

“Because regular physical exercise lowers blood lipids, blood sugar and blood pressure, expands the blood vessels, increases the heart’s performance reserves, curbs appetite and reduces body weight,” explains Prof. Dr. medical Hans-Jürgen Becker, former CEO of the German Heart Foundation. He, therefore, calls for using the mild spring temperatures for sporting activities.

Anyone new to endurance sports should first consider which sports they want to do. If you don’t enjoy jogging much, you can choose swimming, cycling, hiking or Nordic walking as alternatives. The motivation for endurance sports can be promoted by attaching importance to variety, i.e. regularly varying the selected routes and the loads.


Increase training slowly

Sports beginners and those returning to exercise often overestimate their performance when starting training, which can lead to health problems. The recommended rule of thumb is to jog, swim, or cycle just fast enough that you start sweating but can still have a good conversation. Maximum training duration of 10 to 30 minutes in the first few weeks is often wholly sufficient. The basic rule is always to approach higher training volumes slowly to not overload the joints and the cardiovascular system.

As scientific studies have shown, success can often be achieved with a relatively small amount of training. Jogging for just one hour a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by more than 40 per cent. From a medical point of view, four to five weekly training units of 30 to 45 minutes are optimal for achieving adequate protection against heart disease in the long term.

Medical check in advance

Beginners and returnees should have a doctor examine them before the first training session. For example, you can use the official health check at the family doctor, the costs of which are covered by health insurance every two years from age 35. “Even pre-existing heart diseases are usually no reason to forego endurance sports,” says Prof. Becker. On the contrary, many heart patients are even expressly advised to do endurance sports today.

However, people who suffer from heart disease should clarify with their doctor which physical exertion is ideal for them and which limits are not to be exceeded.

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