Do you have blockages in your coronary arteries and are wondering if you shouldn’t do any intense exercise?
I don’t mean marathon running or a 40 mile bike ride.
I mean short bursts of intense activity, such as 30 seconds of squat jumps or burpee-pushups.
Or parking lot or street sprints alternating with several minutes of restful walking.
“CAD [coronary artery disease] would not prevent the ability to do strenuous activity unless the degree of stenosis is significant, > 70-80 percent, such that there is limitation in flow where demand outstrips supply,” explains Dr. Cynthia Thaik, MD, cardiologist and author of “Your Vibrant Heart.”
Stenosis here refers to narrowing of the inner diameter of the coronary artery due to plaque buildup.
Thus, if this narrowing is greater than 70-80 percent, that’s a pretty clogged artery, having a thin passageway through which oxygenated blood flows—not enough to adequately supply the heart during strenuous exercise.
Dr. Thaik continues, “Anything less than that would still provide adequate flow, and so would not cause symptoms or limitation.”
This may sound like good news to those who’ve been diagnosed with coronary heart disease or suspect they have it.
However, diet plays a tremendous role in the potential for arteries to become clogged.
Thus, you should be concerned about what you eat, regardless of how well you do your high intensity interval training, weighted squat jumps or burpees that conclude with an overhead press with 20 pound dumbbells.
You cannot out-train poor nutrition no matter how intense the workout. Coronary artery disease can creep up on you without producing any symptoms.
A significant reduction in the intake of white sugar will quickly have a positive effect on your cholesterol profile.
Dr. Thaik’s clinical interests include congestive heart failure and women’s heart disease, and is affiliated with the American Heart Association.
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.