Although the team hypothesized higher levels of physical activity would result in lower levels of CAC 25 years later, they found that patients who exercised the most vigorously and often were at the highest risk for subclinical atherosclerosis.
"High levels of exercise over time may cause stress on the arteries leading to higher CAC", said Rana, "however this plaque buildup may well be of the more stable kind, and thus less likely to rupture and causes heart attack, which was not evaluated in this study". "So it seemed to be counterproductive to exercise more than the recommended amount", says SLU Care's Dr. Michael Lim, a cardiologist at SSM Health SLU Hospital.
Group one was defined as exercising below the national guidelines of less than 150 minutes a week, group two as meeting the national guidelines of 150 minutes a week and group three was exercising three-times above the national guidelines over 450 minutes a week.
Led by researchers at the University of IL at Chicago and Kaiser Permanente, the study looked at the physical activity trajectories of 3,175 black and white participants in the multicenter, community-based, longitudinal cohort CARDIA study, and assessed the presence of coronary artery calcification, or CAC, among participants.
In any case they found that at the best level of activity, there was no additional hazard for dark men, however a 86 percent expanded hazard for white men.
While, in past studies, high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness have been linked to lower levels of CAC in the future and a minimized risk of cardiovascular disease, Laddu and co-authors wrote the connection between exercise and coronary subclinical atherosclerosis hasn't ever been explored in a population as its members age.
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"In essence, there's a lot that we don't know", Ludu said in an online video accompanying the study.
"We were surprised by the finding, mainly because we essentially think of exercise as medicine".
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, says engaging in too much exercise is unhealthy for the heart. To everyone's shock, it was found that men who work out excess had 86 percent more chances of developing plaque in heart arteries by the time they reach middle age.
However he added: "It does not suggest that anyone should stop exercising".
Laddu and colleagues aimed to examine the effects of long-term physical activity patterns and their association with subclinical atherosclerosis. According to the research, black participants who fell into the excessive exercise category saw no higher odds of developing risky levels of CAC or atherosclerosis. For one, she noted that very few of the high exercisers were black, making it hard to draw definitive conclusions.