‘Heart Attacks in Gym’: What are the causes behind the rising trend of heart issues in young Indian gym-goers?

The increasing enthusiasm for fitness in India is accompanied by a worrying trend: a rise in heart health issues among young gym-goers.

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In recent years, the pursuit of a good physique has become a significant trend among young adults in India. Gym memberships are soaring as more people aim to build strong and bulky bodies. However, this increasing enthusiasm for fitness is accompanied by a worrying trend: a rise in heart health issues among young gym-goers.

Strenuous Exercises and Heart Health

Many young adults in India engage in high-intensity workouts such as running, cycling, swimming, and jumping rope. These exercises, while beneficial in moderation, can become detrimental when performed excessively or without proper guidance. Dr. Reddy, a cardiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), warns that intense workouts can cause sudden cardiac events by triggering plaque rupture or causing electrical disturbances in the heart.

Additionally, exercise-induced high blood pressure is a significant concern. While a temporary rise in blood pressure during exercise is normal, it should return to baseline levels afterward. Persistent high blood pressure can indicate an underlying issue that needs medical attention.

Early Onset of Heart Diseases in India

Compared to Western countries, Indians tend to develop heart diseases at a younger age. One reason for this is the comparatively smaller size of blood vessels among Indians, which increases the risk of heart problems. This genetic predisposition is compounded by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, substance abuse, and high stress levels.

For example, the tragic case of Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar, who died of a heart attack at the age of 46, underscores the vulnerability of young, seemingly healthy individuals to heart diseases. Rajkumar was known for his fitness regime, yet he succumbed to a heart condition that might have been exacerbated by intense physical exertion and lifestyle factors.

 Addressing the Heart Health Crisis

There are several measures young adults can take to mitigate the risk of heart disease while maintaining their fitness goals:

1. Exercise Within Your Limits: Understanding and respecting your body’s limits is crucial. Simple tests like the stair test, walk test, and RPE test can help gauge your fitness level and ensure you are not overexerting yourself.

2. Healthy Diet Choices: A balanced diet rich in nutrients is essential. Incorporate quality carbohydrates, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats into your meals. Avoid fad diets that might lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals.

3. Listen to Your Body: Avoid strenuous workouts when feeling unwell. Mild exercises like walking, yoga, and light stretching can help maintain fitness without putting undue stress on the heart.

4. Regular Heart Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups, including tests like hs-CRP, ECG, and echocardiograms, can help detect early signs of heart issues. Awareness and early intervention are key to preventing serious heart conditions.

5. Incorporate Daily Walks: Walking for at least 30 minutes daily can significantly improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones, reduce body fat, and increase overall endurance.

The Role of Health Insurance

Given the rising incidence of heart-related issues, having robust health insurance is vital. Health plans specifically tailored for heart conditions can provide a financial cushion against the costs of treatment and hospitalizations. Plans like the 'Heart Mediclaim' offer comprehensive coverage for various heart ailments, ensuring peace of mind and better health management.


While the pursuit of physical fitness is commendable, it is essential for young adults in India to approach it with caution and awareness. By understanding their body’s limits, maintaining a balanced diet, undergoing regular health check-ups, and adopting healthy habits, they can safeguard their heart health and enjoy a fit and healthy life.