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Endurance cycling tied to lasting heart damage

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9:36pm, November 21, 2005

From Dallas, Texas, at a meeting of the American Heart Association

People who compete in grueling long-distance bicycle races are in great physical shape. But a study now suggests that the endurance training they undergo could do long-term harm to their hearts.

Researchers in Switzerland located 62 Swiss bicyclers, all men, an average of 38 years after they had competed in the Tour de Suisse race. As a control group, the researchers examined 52 men whose chief exercise for much of their lives had been golf. The researchers took a blood sample from each man and checked for signs of heart trouble. Men in both groups had an average age in the mid-60s and had comparable body weights and blood pressures. Although the former cyclists were exercising slightly more, both groups had similar heart-pumping capacity.

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