Cardiac arrest. Sudden death.
These are the scary terms that are thrown around quite a bit in the sports world. Whenever someone dies during an athletic event, it’s usually from cardiac arrest. In triathlons and marathons it seems that sudden death is quite prevalent, especially during the swim portion of a triathlon. Even if the stats and numbers are actually small (given how many people compete in these events annually), the news outlets unfortunately glorify it.
I personally witnessed someone at my local pool die of a heart attack during a water aerobics class. It was terrifying and extremely traumatic. I felt horrible for him and his family. But what if I’m next? What can I do to make sure my heart is healthy? (Note: I’m not a doctor, this is a list from various internet resources. Check with your doctor about your risk of heart disease.)
Step 1: Eat more plants! There is scientific evidence to prove that eating a healthy plant based diet reduces the risk of heart disease. A low cholesterol diet is heart healthy and there is ZERO cholesterol in plants!
Step 2: Exercise
Step 3: Don’t smoke, don’t do drugs
Step 4: Check your family history. Nothing to report, thankfully.
Step 5: Maintain a healthy weight
Step 6: Get a test! I went to my doctor and told her I was training for an Ironman. I told her that even though I have a healthy heart, I was concerned that perfection on Steps 1-5 can’t detect a rare heart defect. She assured me that I was perfectly fine and she was confident any test would come back a-OK. But I got a basic EKG anyway, just for peace of mind. And great news. I just got the results and my heart is healthy and looks perfect!
Bottom line. Take care of yourself. Eat plants and the weight will melt off. And if you’re still worried, get a basic test (just make sure your insurance covers it!)
Thanks everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.