If you’re having chest pain AFTER exercise, not during the activity, this may still be related to your heart.
The older you are, the more likely that any chest pain that’s associated with exercise is due to a heart problem.
If you’re a teen or in your 20s, heart problems that cause chest pain only after you exercise have a high chance of being congenital—something that you were born with.
However, most causes of chest pain following exercise in the younger person are not heart related.
In people over 35, the chances of a heart problem causing chest pain only after exercise, rather than during, increases.
“Most often, chest pain arising from a partially blocked artery arises only during exercise when the oxygen demand of the heart muscle is high,” explains Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan, MD, a cardiologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI.
Dr. Chinnaiyan is founder of Heal Your Heart, Free Your Soul, an online, yoga-based prevention program.
“Normally, blood pressure and heart rate return to normal quite rapidly after exercise.
“When this doesn’t happen because of underlying high sympathetic tone or other factors, chest pain can continue or begin at the end of exercise.
“This can also happen if the artery spasms or constricts, resulting in chest pain.”
Chest pain or discomfort after an exercise session, in an older person, doesn’t automatically mean that something must be wrong with their heart.
However, this symptom nets a visit with a cardiologist to make sure everything is fine, to rule out a cardiac condition.
What’s especially meaningful to all this is if an older person is out of shape and then decides to start exercising.
There may definitely be an issue going on with this person’s heart.
However, if you’ve already been working out for years and have had a high degree of fitness for as long as you can remember – but then you have new-onset chest pain following exercise…you, too, should see a cardiologist.
Dr. Chinnaiyan has authored and co-authored 100+ manuscripts and abstracts. She has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association of Southeast Michigan.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.