Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Exercise Changes Structure And Function Of Heart

Date:
April 23, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
For the first time researchers are beginning to understand exactly how various forms of exercise impact the heart. Scientists have found that 90 days of vigorous athletic training produces significant changes in cardiac structure and function and that the type of change varies with the type of exercise performed.

For the first time researchers are beginning to understand exactly how various forms of exercise impact the heart. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators, in collaboration with the Harvard University Health Services, have found that 90 days of vigorous athletic training produces significant changes in cardiac structure and function and that the type of change varies with the type of exercise performed.

"Most of what we know about cardiac changes in athletes and other physically active people comes from 'snapshots,' taken at one specific point in time. What we did in this first-of-a-kind study was to follow athletes over several months to determine how the training process actually causes change to occur," says Aaron Baggish, MD, a fellow in the MGH Cardiology Division and lead author of the study.

To investigate how exercise affects the heart over time, the MGH researchers enrolled two groups of Harvard University student athletes at the beginning of the fall 2006 semester. One group was comprised of endurance athletes -- 20 male and 20 female rowers -- and the other, strength athletes -- 35 male football players. Student athletes were studied while participating their normal team training, with emphasis on how the heart adapts to a typical season of competitive athletics.

Echocardiography studies -- ultrasound examination of the heart's structure and function -- were taken at the beginning and end of the 90-day study period. Participants followed the normal training regimens developed by their coaches and trainers, and weekly training activity was recorded. Endurance training included one- to three-hour sessions of on-water practice or use of indoor rowing equipment. The strength athletes took part in skill-focused drills, exercises designed to improve muscle strength and reaction time, and supervised weight training. Participants also were questioned confidentially about the use of steroids, and any who reported such use were excluded from the study.

At the end of the 90-day study period, both groups had significant overall increases in the size of their hearts. For endurance athletes, the left and right ventricles -- the chambers that send blood into the aorta and to the lungs, respectively -- expanded. In contrast, the heart muscle of the strength athletes tended to thicken, a phenomenon that appeared to be confined to the left ventricle. The most significant functional differences related to the relaxation of the heart muscle between beats -- which increased in the endurance athletes but decreased in strength athletes, while still remaining within normal ranges.

"We were quite surprised by both the magnitude of changes over a relatively short period and by how great the differences were between the two groups of athletes," Baggish says. "The functional differences raise questions about the potential impact of long-term training, which should be followed up in future studies."

While this study looks at young athletes with healthy hearts, the information it provides may someday benefit heart disease patients. "The take-home message is that, just as not all heart disease is equal, not all exercise prescriptions are equal," Baggish explains. "This should start us thinking about whether we should tailor the type of exercise patients should do to their specific type of heart disease. The concept will need to be studied in heart disease patients before we can make any definitive recommendations."

Their study appears in the April Journal of Applied Physiology. Baggish and senior author Malissa J. Wood, MD, of MGH Cardiology note that collaboration with the Harvard University Medical Services, led by Francis Wang, MD, was instrumental in the success of this study. Additional co-authors of the report are Rory Weiner, MD, Jason Elinoff, Francois Tournoux, Michael Picard, MD, and Adolph Hutter, MD, MGH Cardiology; and Arthur Boland, MD, Harvard University Health Services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "How Exercise Changes Structure And Function Of Heart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422103857.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2008, April 23). How Exercise Changes Structure And Function Of Heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422103857.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "How Exercise Changes Structure And Function Of Heart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422103857.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins