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Exercise can modify structure of heart


Washington : Pumping irons or aerobic exercises can modify the heart’s structure like any other muscles, but then in the case of heart the process takes much longer.

Researchers of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) studied this process in well-trained hearts during their investigations to identify the mode of modification.

Efforts at the gym result in increased muscle tone, which also applies to the heart after intense physical activity. Thanks to modern imaging technology like echocardiography, the study of such characteristics has greatly improved.

In sports medicine, it is very important to know how the heart adapts and regresses to its original state in athletes who train intensively.

In general, all the studies carried out with echocardiography for people with high levels of heart adaptation (rowers, cyclists, long distance runners…) have proven that the effects of heart training are increases in the size of the cavities (mainly the left ventricle) and thickness of the myocardium.

Nonetheless, the regression of echocardiographic measurements caused by the decrease in training intensity has so far shown contradictory results.

Correctly interpreting the echocardiographic images and understanding the regression of the heart to its initial status is crucial, as there are heart diseases that resemble the natural adaptation caused by training.

For this reason, since the initial study with sports athletes, there have been numerous others with the direct or indirect objective of determining the differences between a healthy heart and an unhealthy one.

Researchers concluded that a healthy trained heart reverts to its original measurements once the stimulus disappears, as opposed to the case of an ill heart (hypertrophy or dilatation of the heart).