Biking and other forms of physical exercise certainly contribute to heart health. Regular exercise helps lower both blood pressure and resting heart rate. In fact, the risk of coronary artery disease is 45 percent lower in individuals who exercise regularly than in sedentary individuals. But exercise does not mean you are immune to heart troubles. Bikers should be aware of the warning signals of heart issues. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your physician right away.
Signs of Heart Trouble
- Chest pain – this is perhaps the most obvious sign of heart trouble. Although chest pain may be felt as a tightening or pressure/pain in the center of the chest, it also may present in a less obvious way. Women, for example, often notice pain in other areas, such as the shoulder. A warning sign: If the pain occurs when you exercise or when your heart rate is elevated and is alleviated with rest, get it checked out right away.
- Irregular or rapid heart rate – As cyclists, we are generally very aware of our heart rate. Many of us track it with monitors when we exercise and work to lower our resting heart rate. If you notice your heart rate is rapid or irregular, it may be a sign of heart trouble. You may notice the beat is not as steady when you take your pulse, or you might even feel a fluttering sensation in your chest. Even if your irregular heartbeat returns to normal within a short period of time, it is important to not write it off as a minor hiccup. Although it may not be significant, only your physician knows for sure!
- Unexplained fatigue – Bikers tend to be an energetic bunch, so unexplained fatigue may present like a sore thumb. If you notice you are struggling with your normal cycling regime due to fatigue, it may indicate a heart problem. Another sign of fatigue is difficulty completing your normal daily routine. For example, if you are struggling to wake with your alarm clock but normally are up with the sun, or if you are suddenly having a difficult time making it through the workday without feeling crashing fatigue, please get it checked out. It may be a sign of a heart abnormality, or it could be presentation of another physical issue.
- Shortness of breath – If you begin to notice that you have become short of breath, or if you suddenly develop shortness of breath, contact your physician! Feeling short of breath is a sign that your lungs are not receiving enough oxygen and can be a clear indicator of heart issues.
The warning signs listed above should be taken seriously! If you notice any of these signals, please contact your physician and follow up to determine the cause. Although sometimes the reason for these symptoms may be minor, it may also be the only warning sign of impending heart trouble that you receive.
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As a bicycle accident attorney and a biker myself, the physical health and wellbeing of my clients is dear to me. I work hard to help injured bicyclists return to health after their bicycle crashes. Ride safe, keep your heart in top shape, and if you find yourself in a crash, contact Kass & Moses for a free consultation!
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