Running Questions - Answers
Why is running bad for your heart?
Avatar Flynn Wright
02 August 2018

My friends and I will be going to Georgia because I heard that the state has great running trails. We’re planning on running at Pine Mountain this weekend; however, I do have a question for you. Is it true that trail running is bad for your heart?

Answer :
Elizabeth Carlson
01 August 2018

How exciting! I have ran the trails, roads, mountainsides, and coastline of Georgia myself MANY times and it is an absolutely beautiful state. The area of Pine Mountain in West Georgia is particularly beautiful, as it is wooded and shaded with rolling hills. If you are able, definitely venture out to Callaway Gardens, which is located very close by to the Pine Mountain area. The trails in this area are absolutely beautiful, because Callaway Gardens is known for its butterfly gardens and luscious plant and wildlife trails.

As far as running and heart health is concerned, you probably do not have to worry. For the most part, is actually extremely good for your heart. The instances in which one should be worried about running and their heart is if they already suffer from a pre-existing heart condition. Specifically, individuals with HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) run a high risk of experiencing adverse symptoms from running. HCM is a condition in which the left ventricle of the heart has a muscle wall surrounding it that is too thick o effectively pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Runners with HCM may experience some symptoms (such as heart palpitations or murmurs, chest pain, dizziness, and fainting) that help clue them in to the possibility of having HCM. However, most people's hypertorphic cardiomyopathy actually goes unidentified until it may be too late. The condition may be inherited genetically, but this is not always the case. If you are concerned that you may be at risk, you should certainly see a doctor and have an echocardiogram performed at your annual physical.

Still, casual trail running probably will not even pose a risk to most HCM patients because, as long as it is more of a leisurely jog (as opposed to a high intensity sprint interval) that keeps the heart rate below 150 beats per minute, you will likely not experience any adverse effects. But this is where you should certainly consider getting a heart rate monitor, if you do not already have one. (Check out our list of heart rate monitors here to help you decide which is best for you and your needs!)


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