Athletes represent the extremes of human performance. Many of their remarkable abilities stem from a cardiovascular system that has adapted to meet the metabolic needs of exercising muscle. A large and compliant heart is a hallmark feature of athletes who engage in highly aerobic events. Despite high fitness levels, athletes may present with symptoms that limit performance. Understanding and dissecting these limitations requires a strong background in sports science and the factors that determine sports capabilities. This article reviews the basic principles of exercise physiology, cardiovascular adaptations unique to the "athlete's heart," and the utility of exercise testing in athletes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation