Recently, actor Siddhaanth Surryavanshi passed away at the gym after working out. Three months ago, comedian Raju Shrivastav collapsed while on the treadmill and was rushed to a hospital but passed away after weeks on life support. Another instance also made news where Kannada film actor Puneet Rajkumar complained of chest pain and suffered from a cardiac arrest while working out also took place recently. He passed away shortly after he was taken to the hospital. Telegu star Naga Shaurya was also rushed to the hospital after her fainted on the set of his next film and was admitted with a high fever and a severe case of dehydration. The reason behind this was that he went on an intense non-liquid diet and was working out a lot to achieve six-pack abs for his role in the movie.
Last year, actor Siddharth Shukla suffered from a heart attack and passed away, while it did not happen while he was exercising, he was very vocal about his fitness and workouts. And In 2013, actor Abir Goswami also had a heart attack while running on the treadmill in the gym.
All these deaths have caused people to question the idea of fitness we see celebrities follow and promote while also asking questions about how much work outs actually contribute to our overall health. This has left many confused about what could have happened and what is the link.
While talking about the possible reasons for these celebrities died, Farah Rarh, personal Trainer, The Fitness Studio, Mira Road (E) says, “Reports suggest that the most common reason could be the hypertrophic cardiac myopathy which generally passes off as asymptomatic. This means the individual has no clue about the existence of the condition beforehand and death can occur at rest or even with a mild or intense activity. Stress can also be considered as a major factor leading to such cardiac conditions along with an unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, family history of cardiac diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc which are all modern age silent killers.”
There are certain things people can do to ensure they minimise the negative impact from working out, while also gaining the maximum benefits.
First time gym goers to first understand their own body’s capabilities advises Miten Kakaiya, 29, personal trainer in Mumbai. Adding, he explains, “After having lived a sedentary lifestyle, for many years, suddenly you can’t expect to become John Abraham at the gym. It is not just your body’s capabilities, but also your heart capabilities at which it can function. So when you join the gym for the first time, you got to take things slow.”
While physical exercises are important for a healthy life, sometimes uninformed decisions could cost you as well. Garima Goyal, dietitian says, “Before starting any exercise regime or body-building activities consult a qualified dietitian and fitness professional to make the right choice about the requirements of supplements and the kinds of exercises you can work on.”
The idea that only the older generation is affected by health issues has been proven wrong. One also now seen many elders taking to the gym, a la actor Anupam Kher who recently debuted his new fit body and spoke about the importance of working out. Kakaiya says, “If you have a heart condition, then you need to make sure that your fitness coach has worked with somebody who has had a heart condition before. Your entire body is a very complex mechanism and each individual is different. it’s not just about getting any coach but it is also about getting the right code for your particular condition.”
Both Rarh and Kakaiya emphasis on the recovery aspect post working out. The body is repairing itself, not while you’re training or eating food, but when you’re asleep. So it is important to take rest and get a good night’s sleep as well.
At the gym
Muzamil Basu, business head, Dorabjee Wellness LLP, Danny’s Gym, Pune says that “Most gyms have a first aid kit but that does not have any kind of medicine or any life-saving drug as they are not licensed or authorised to keep it.” This basic kit is only kept for emergencies. They also have emergency contact numbers and information about their members who they contact if any untoward situation arises.
Gym trainers are also certified in basic CPR and “they get this certification at the time of doing their course. If something were to happens, then the necessary measures will be taken, explains Kunal Deshpande, regional fitness manager, Rhinos’ Gym, Andheri (E).
Gyms also get their clients to fill out a questionnaire that has all information about their medical and health related issues along with family health history. Basu shares, “They do not need to submit their medical prescriptions but answer basic yet important questions which lets us know if the client is healthy and if they have a healthy lifestyle or health issues in the past.”
A good trainer explains Deshpande will ask you about your life – both personal and professional as the training model changes with that. Adding, he says, “For example, if you are my client, it’s my responsibility to ask you How was your day or night? And if you tell me it was stressful, then my training schedule has to change. I might reduce the intensity or give you more intervals in between so that your body recovers from the stress it is going through.”
A workout is basically a metabolic situation where we are putting our body through stress. And if the body’s already stressed, then the added stress may be too much for that person. All the trainers were in consensus that celebrities are under a lot of pressure to look good in front of the camera along with a disturbed sleeping pattern, hectic work schedule and not skipping their work outs which can have a negative effect on their overall health.
Things to keep in mind:
1.If a person has blockage in the artery, strenuous exercise can cause it to rupture and cause a sudden heart attack.
2. Some studies have vaguely found an association between the use of fat burners or steroids for bodybuilding to be a trigger for heart attacks or reducing heart function.
3. Fad diets are nutritionally inadequate as they involving extreme restriction or focusing on just one nutrient like protein. Too much of restriction might not compensate for the workload and could cause fatigue and start affecting our body’s regular metabolism.
What should you do?
1. If you are planning to enrol in a gym for either weight loss or body building, get a cardiac profile done. Consult your physician.
2. Avoid falling prey to unnecessary dietary supplements or fat burners. Each of us is different and so are our body requirements. Consult a dietitian or fitness professionals to choose the best option for you.
3. Have a proper diet which should not include starving but rather nourishing you for all the work you put in.
Inputs by Garima Goyal, dietitian