The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences


Many studies examine the effects of vigorous cardiovascular exercise on the heart. Intense exercise causes frequent muscle contractions in the heart and specific biomarkers that usually signify a myocardial infarction are released into the bloodstream. However, studies indicate that there might not be a correlation between the release of biomarkers and cardiac function. Another study shows that long term vigorous exercise negatively affects the heart by dramatically increasing the mass and volume of the right and left ventricles, thereby resulting in hypertrophy. The cardiac hypertrophy is still evident even after the subjects have stopped exercising. Cardiac hypertrophy results in myocardial fibrosis and scarring. The percent of myocardial fibrosis in those engaging in long term vigorous exercise was significantly higher than that of the control group. After intense training, tests found a reduced right ventricle ejection fraction due to dilation of the right ventricle while there was no dilation in the left ventricle. In addition, a correlation was found between reduced right ventricle ejection fraction and ventricle arrhythmias. The mortality rate of vigorous exercisers was slightly higher in comparison to those who moderately exercised. Animal studies showed that rats who exercised developed left ventricle hypertrophy, impaired diastolic function, and right ventricle dilation, the symptoms found in humans with an “athlete’s heart.” Additional research on the effect of vigorous exercise on the heart needs to be conducted to verify these findings.