On April 17, I wrote an introductory article to Energy System Training. In that article:
- I explained how each of your body’s three energy system pathways provide energy for bodily functions.
- I also explained how each energy system could be developed through exercise.
Since that time, there has been new research conducted which proves that not only will exercise affect the function of your energy systems, it will affect the function and structure of your heart.
In this latest study, researchers have “concluded that participation in 90 days of competitive athletics produces significant training-specific changes in cardiac structure and function.”
- Endurance Athletes (40 university rowers) expanded both the left and right ventricles of their hearts (bi-ventricular dilation).
- As well, they improved the relaxation of the heart muscle between beats (Diastolic relaxation).
- In contrast, Strength Athletes (35 football players) thickened the heart muscle at the site of the left ventricle.
- Additionally, the football players experienced diminished diastolic relaxation.
What does this mean?
- For athletes, this indicates that dramatic changes to the function of the heart’s function and structure can be achieved in a very short amount of time. Future studies will be looking at how different exercise protocols affect both the function and structure of the heart.
- For heart disease patients, this study should indicate that as not all heart dysfunctions are the same, not all exercise prescriptions are the same. Like different drugs are prescribed for different conditions, in the future unique exercise prescriptions may be dispensed based on the patient’s unique physical condition…allowing you to make your heart healthier and stronger and more capable of the specific tasks you might ask it to do.
- For you and the rest of the health conscious public at-large, Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger
Your prescription: go take a long walk with some short HIIT sprints, and call me in the morning.
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