Can you push your heart too hard?

It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for the heart. But does this apply equally to everyone who keeps fit, regardless of the volume of training? Sadly not. Many doctors and scientists now believe that, as far as the heart is concerned, there may be such a thing as too much. 

I have a personal interest in this subject: since 2014, my heart has been misbehaving during exercise, leaping to rates as high as 230bpm, usually early on during a ride or run, often refusing to fall until I stop or slow down. It happens frequently, though usually settles into its normal rhythm within about 10 minutes. I’ve undergone many tests but so far with no firm diagnosis. My background: I’m 35, have been running and cycling for around a decade, and until recently racked up seven to 10 hours, including two or three hard sessions, nearly every week. Could it be that I’ve overdone it and damaged my heart? 

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