Monday, December 21, 2009

Haven't Got the Heart for Cardio?

Do you hate cardio? Do you have problems doing it? If you’ve always disliked cardio for unknown reasons or because it got you overtrained in a hurry, you may have an underlying cardiovascular problem. It’s sad but true: Some bodybuilders will eventually develop cardiovascular trouble, possibly even including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

We know a lot about exercise’s effects on muscle; eat and train right, and you grow. But exercise’s effects on the cardiovascular system have been less understood – until now.

Researchers examined how much muscular oxidative stress and pulmonary oxidative stress was occurring during exercise for people with prior cardiovascular problems. They used people known to have no cardiovascular problems as a control group.

They had participants work out for 20 minutes at 40 percent of their calculated 1RM and studied their blood and urine before and after exercise. Those with preexisting cardiovascular problems experienced increased pulmonary oxidative stress and overall systemic inflammation after exercise, while healthy subjects didn’t.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Hating cardio because it’s boring isn’t the same as hating it because it gets you overtrained quickly. If you hate it for the latter reason, get a cardiovascular stress test from your doctor. After all, your heart and lungs pump oxygen and nutrients to your muscles so they can grow, so if you’re having cardio trouble, it’s a sure bet that you’re not growing as much as you should either.

Source: Mercken EM, Gosker HR, Rutten EP, Wouters EF, Bast A, Hageman GJ, Schols AM. Systemic and pulmonary oxidative stress after single-leg exercise in COPD. Chest. 2009 August 20. [Epub ahead of print]

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