Highly trained female athletes showed no sign of a negative effect on their hearts after intense workouts--contradicting studies that found such maximal excercise can be counter-productive, researchers said at the AHA meeting in Orlando, FL.
Despite recent studies showing that athletes who train too hard may see negative effects on cardiac function, researchers at the American Heart Association 2015 Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL said that was not true for elite female athletes they studied.
Daniela Andaku and colleagues at the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Sao Carlos Brazil and other institutions presented a study that followed 15 elite women soccer players. These players typically trained for four to six hours daily at a high intensity.
In the study, the subjects worked out on a treadmill. They got brachial artery tests using high resolution ultrasound before and immediately after maximal cardiopulmonary workouts.
Flow velocity was measured at baseline and during reactive hyperemia both prior to a following exercise. The researchers found brachial artery diameter increased during reactive hyperemia and after the workouts. Flow mediated dilation was increased following the exercise and there was significant increase in peak flow velocity.
The team concluded that "the results indication that arterial function is improved following acute aerobic exercise in elite female athletes with a chronic high-volume training history."
Those findings "deviate from the emerging literature suggesting chronic high-volume training may be detrimental to cardiovascular function in the long term."
The full study was presented in an abstract at the meeting.