Hyderabad: It is often considered unsafe for heart patients to run marathons, but there have been many cases where patients have hit the tracks again after heart surgeries.
P Venkataraman, a US certified long distance running coach says, “I had six blocks in my heart which required bypass surgery. I was back to running 11 months after my surgery and I have run 121 half marathons since then. It feels better to run after my surgery as my exhaustion has reduced. With the help of my cardiologist I run a club called Zippers club, which has over 20 members. The members are all heart patients and I help them train for marathons."
Running is a global phenomenon with marathons being held, many as fundraisers and awareness campaigns. A study by the Medical College of Wisconsin found that an hour of running burns up to 500 calories as opposed to other machine equipment.
The risk of heart disease is less in the case of runners. “When one runs or takes a brisk walk, one’s blood vessels dilate making blood flow to the heart easier. It also burns fat which would otherwise lead to blockages,” says Dr Sunil Kapoor, senior cardiologist at Apollo Hospital.
Doctors say that runners often develop a condition called athlete’s heart which is exercise induced and which causes the heart to enlarge and therefore slows the heart rate.
“Most marathon runners have athlete’s heart, which is actually healthy. Mam-mals like whales have slower heart rates, giving them a long life span. The same can be said for humans. In fact, 50 per cent of heart ailments can be cut by running,” says Dr Kapoor. Heart patients may be tested to find out how much they can exercise daily.
“Patients who have had a successful bypass and whose stent and graft are working fine are actually asked to run more rigorously," says Dr. Sarath Chandra, president of the Cardiological Society.