Strenuous activity can only make the heart stronger, ‘preparation’ is what helps your body adapt to it: Actor Rahul Dev

The untimely demise of TV actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi has left a hole in people’s heart – not only because he was just 46, but because he was one of the fitter celebrities in the entertainment industry.

Reportedly, the actor collapsed and succumbed to a heart attack while working out in the gym. While unfortunate, this is not the first time celebrities have suffered cardiac complications while exercising in the gym. Stand up comedian Raju Srivastav suffered a mild heart attack while running on the treadmill. Kannada star Puneeth Rajkumar died due to a massive heart attack after reportedly going for a workout at the gym. All of these instances have raised several questions around why more and more young, fit and gym-going people are suffering from or succumbing to heart attacks.

To clear some of the air, ETimes Lifestyle spoke exclusively with renowned actor-model and fitness enthusiast Rahul Dev and asked him to share his understanding of these sudden yet unfortunate celebrity deaths, along with some takeaways for people who are ardent gym-goers.

Rahul, who is among the fittest actors in India, believes that exercise or strenuous activities do not cause a heart attack, rather it only makes the heart stronger. According to him, the problem lies in the unawareness around one’s heart’s condition while they’re subjecting it to strain.

“It’s like a car,” he says. “If you drive a battered car on a race course, it will break down. If you’re racing a car that is not in the state at that moment, it will break down.” What the actor emphasizes on is the importance of ‘preparation’ i.e. training the body to adapt to any kind of strain while working out.

According to him, there is nothing called overstraining. He looks back at the time when he met Fauja Singh, the oldest marathoner in the world. “I met him in a Gurudwara, while shooting for a film ‘Mubarakan’. At that time he was 106, now he is 112,” he remembers. “He started running at 60 and he runs 10kms everyday. I don’t know how many people actually run 10kms. But he is blessed to live that life.I asked him what he does and he said that he has eaten the same food everyday – he led a very disciplined life in the last 55 years, which is a long time. So basically, it is not overstraining. It is all about how you prepare your body.”

When it comes to matters of health and fitness, the 54-year-old warns against resorting to ‘shortcuts’ – be it taking any supplements or medications. For that, he says one should go to a dietician or a doctor, respectively. Furthermore, emphasizing on the importance of regular health checkups, he says, “I don’t know many people who do health check ups – phir woh aap sharir ko jaante nahi hai aur kaam diye jaate hai [then you don’t know the body very well and you keep giving it work].”

“Everybody puts an exercise plan in life in two or three ways:

1. They’re genuinely passionate and have been training for a long time.

2. You suddenly get inspired when you watch something.

3. New Year’s resolution
4. Due to a medical condition – when your doctor says that you need to start some exercise.

“These 4-5 things people take up to exercise, depending on which category you’re in. If you fall in the first category and have been training for very long, even then if you take a break for 6 months, again you have to start from basics,” the actor explains.

That said, according to him, the keyword is preparation, it is also important to know your own anatomy and you should train it sincerely from base upwards – from the basics.

“Strain per se does not kill you – the body is skilled to handle any strain. The preparation is important – if it’s not prepared to handle the strain, it will break down,” he concludes.

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