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Fast Talk podcast: Too much of a good thing? Heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes

The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and columnist Trevor Connor discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, and more.

In this episode we take a deep dive into a subject that Case knows well, and that our guest, Lennard Zinn, has lived for the last five years: Heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes. Chris and Lennard, along with Dr. John Mandrola, wrote a book entitled “The Haywire Heart” that details how and why long-term endurance exercise could cause a variety of heart arrhythmias. We’ll detail the research, discuss warning signs, give you an idea of how hard your heart is working when you’re doing that set of intervals or running a marathon. And, of course, we’ll discuss at length the evidence that suggests there could be too much of a good thing when it comes to exercise.

The topic of heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes is broad, multifaceted, complicated, and, in so many ways, extremely important to investigate further. We’ll touch on many of the facets of the issue in this episode.

The explosion in popularity of endurance sports has coincided with the ability and desire of an active populace to strive for elite athletic achievements deep into their lives.

Of course, that begs the question: Is exercise good for your heart? Undoubtedly, it is. In fact, it is undeniably the best medicine there is for preventing a host of cardiovascular diseases, as well as a multitude of other diseases. Its documented beneficial results would qualify it as a miracle drug if a pharmaceutical company could figure out how to bottle it. But even miracle drugs have a recommended dosage, and vastly exceeding it is not generally prudent.

Can there be too much of a good thing? Quite possibly—as you’ll soon learn.

In today’s episode, we’ll also hear from Jeremy Powers, who dealt with his own heart arrhythmia this past cyclocross season. He is among a growing list of professional athletes diagnosed with arrhythmias that continues to grow, and includes WorldTour riders, Ironman champions, Olympic medalists, and some of America’s most well known cyclists.

Fast Talk is available on all your favorite podcast services, including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Soundcloud. If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to rate and comment on iTunes after listening. Also, check out the VeloNews Cycling Podcast, our weekly discussion of the sport’s hottest topics, trends, and controversies.

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