Earlier this month, a 19-year-old man collapsed while he was working out on a treadmill and died after suffering from a fatal heart attack. He was undergoing training at a gym located in the Khoda area of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The incident, which was caught on camera, went viral and triggered a sense of panic among people across the country as more and more cases of heart ailments – in relatively young people – get reported. Dr Bimal Chhajer, cardiologist, former consultant at AIIMS, and founder of SAAOL Heart Centers, shares valuable insights on preventing heart attacks while using a treadmill. “With the increasing popularity of home workouts and gym routines, it’s essential to stay informed about the potential risks and precautions associated with treadmill exercise. Prioritising heart health through informed exercise practices can lead to a healthier and more active lifestyle,” the doctor says.
Is Treadmill Exercise For You?
Underscoring the importance of a thorough health assessment before starting any exercise programme, Dr Chajjar says that this is especially important for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors. Consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial to determine whether treadmill exercise is safe and appropriate.
Treadmill Exercise: Things To Keep In Mind
Dr Chajjar lists the following points that people need to keep in mind before they start running or walking on a treadmill.
1. Warm-Up: Start with a gentle warm-up to prepare the heart for increased activity. This includes a few minutes of brisk walking or light jogging at a slower pace.
2. Gradual Progression: Avoid overexertion by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your treadmill sessions. Sudden, intense workouts can strain the heart.
3. Proper Form: Maintain correct posture while using the treadmill, ensuring that your feet are well-centered, and your stride is natural. Holding onto the handrails excessively can disrupt your posture and balance.
Heart Attack: 4 Warning Signs To Look Out For
Recognising potential heart attack symptoms during treadmill exercise is vital. Dr Chajjar highlights the following warning signs:
1. Chest pain or discomfort, which may radiate to the arms, neck, jaw, or back.
2. Shortness of breath that is unusual or disproportionate to your effort level.
3. Profuse sweating, dizziness, or nausea.
4. Irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
Tips For Safe Treadmill Exercise
Dr Chajjar mentions steps that one can take to maintain health and safety while running/walking on a treadmill:
1. Monitor Heart Rate: Use a heart rate monitor to track your pulse during exercise. This can help you stay within your target heart rate zone and avoid overexertion.
2. Cool Down: After completing your treadmill workout, engage in a cool-down phase with slower walking to gradually lower your heart rate.
3. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential to maintain cardiovascular health. Drink water before, during, and after your treadmill session.
4. Go For Regular Check-Ups: Individuals with heart conditions or risk factors should have regular check-ups with their cardiologist to monitor their heart health and make necessary adjustments to their exercise routine.