Is hockey' s start-stop nature hard on the heart?

The particular start/stop nature of pickup hockey may not be as dangerous to the hearts of middle-aged men as feared, a Toronto researcher says.

When Marshall Garnick, 62, had a heart attack two years ago, he had a stent put in, participated in cardiac rehab, took a tension test at the doctor’s office and was cleared to lace up again. He or she also heard a caution.

“One of the cardio rehab people mentioned hockey is a disaster due to the stopping and starting, ” Garnick recalled. “It’s hard on the heart. ”

The conventional wisdom would be that the stop-start nature of a handbags game is dangerous since the heart rate is high if you skate and blood pressure drops when you stop.

Garnick’s linemate, kinesiologist Jack port Goodman, studies cardiac risk. Recognizing a dearth associated with research on the impact associated with hockey on the hearts associated with middle-aged men, he hired 24 players, including a few teammates, to monitor their coronary heart rates and blood pressure throughout pickup games.

“The key finding is that you get to very, very high amounts, and the heart rate progresses throughout the overall game no matter what happens at the bench, ” Goodman mentioned.

He quotes about 500, 000 middle-aged men play regular pickup hockey. Despite anecdotal stories of people dropping dead on the ice, the number of cardiac events is certainly few and probably lower than among people shovelling snowfall, Goodman said.

“The cardiac events that take place during exercise are very rare and the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks, ” Goodman said.

“Is it dangerous likely to close to the maximal level for the sustained period of time? Not if you’re healthy. And that’s the rub, finding the disease that’s hidden in the population has always been a challenge. ”

Since the players’ heart rates, both skating and resting, were much higher than they would end up being during a doctor’s stress check, experts like Goodman recommend warming up and having a good fitness base before hitting the ice.