November 2021


BMW India boss Rudratej Singh

SAP India CEO Ranjan Dass

Bird group’s executive director and owner of Roseate Hotels Ankur Bhatia

Big Boss 13 winner Sidharth Shukla

Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar

There are some common truths about these famous individuals in a sinister and unfortunate manner.

They all were young. Below 50 years.

All of them died suddenly after exercising.

They all were extremely fit physically.

All of them had massive cardiac arrest due to massive heart attack. 

There has been renewed discussion with recent spate of deaths happening post exercise.

Probably these ominous occurrences are connoting towards an often ignored and disregarded scientific explanation. Extreme exercise or unaccustomed exercise has an association with unexpected death.  There is a term Exercise sudden death which refers to non-traumatic sudden death which occurs during exercise or within 24 hours after exercise. There are varied pathological processes and factors involved in this disease entity.

Following are the possible reasons for Exercise Sudden deaths.

1. Many of the young people are essentially allured to the gymnasium without even getting a ECG being done. Those who succumb to the illness are commonly suffering from lethal heart muscle disease such as HOCM, notorious for sudden death. Therefor it is of extreme importance to consult a cardiologist prior to enrollment in a gym. 

2. Excessive unaccustomed burst of physical activity may lead to cardiac fatigue. This may cause abnormal cardiac hemodynamics leading to sudden death. The key to prevent this entity is gradual learning and prolonged intermittent rests in between the exercise regimens. The temptation to quickly get the desired body image may force an individual to overstretch his or her capacity to exercise.

The probability of dying suddenly increases sharply with vigorous exercise, this is true especially in those who do not exercise regularly. The key to prevention is gradual and systematic training. 

In an era where physical looks and eternal youth are the coveted style statements and preferred priorities, one must remember that there is no short cut abridged edition to the perfect body

 3. Thirst and over hydration

It is important to keep yourself optimally hydrated during exercise. Dehydration is not good especially in summers, however over hydration could also lead to dangerous consequences and need to be avoided

4. Convalescence from Covid-19

Those who have recovered from Covid-19, must remember that cardio- respiratory reserve is severely hampered post exercise. A minimum of lag period of 3 months has been advised before gradual comeback to the exercise regimen. Please be slow to hit the gym when recovering from this treacherous illness.

5. Health supplements and exercise

Despite repeated warnings by health authorities, health supplements are in vogue for muscle building and exercise performance. Many such supplements contain banned substances and are potentially toxic to heart and other body organs. Extreme discretion is needed and one must remember that there is no substitute for good ethnic balanced diet.

6. Winters and exercise

Come winters and all of health news is protection from cold especially in the elderly and those with heart disease. Remember that

Heart attacks are more in cold winter months, Mondays and early mornings.

Consumptions of rich dense caloric snacks, excessive liquor intake and reflex increase in normal blood pressure during winters are some of the causes of more heart attacks particularly after exercise. It is prudent to avoid at least morning exercise during these months or to do so with full woollen protection.

Summarizing, Exercise sudden death Is real and respect for nature’s method of body improvement must be adhered to. Gradual and physiological bodybuilding should be the chosen way to achieve the sought-after success.

Dr. Arun Kochar is a senior interventional cardiologist working at Fortis hospital, Mohali