Happy Sunday − and welcome to the best of The Conversation U.S. Here are a few of our recently published stories:

I became a runner a bit later in life, when I was deep into my 30s. At first, it was just for exercise, then I got into 5Ks and 10Ks and eventually began training for the New York City Marathon. It was my second 26.2-miler, but I didn’t really train properly for my first. At my peak, I was running 50-some miles a week, motivated by personal achievement and the many health benefits of regular exercise. One thing I never thought about was athlete’s heart.

As cardiologist William Cornwell describes it in one of last week’s most-read articles, athlete’s or athletic heart is when people work out so much and so strenuously that their heart begins to remodel itself. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus professor explains how various types of exercises alter the heart in different ways. “Athletic heart doesn’t necessarily cause problems, but in some people it can increase the risk of certain heart issues,” he writes.

Honestly, I don’t think I ever worked out enough to be at a real risk of athletic heart. But I do wonder if I witnessed the consequences firsthand about 17 years ago when I stumbled upon the U.S. men’s Olympic trials in Central Park one morning. During the race, in which some of the top American marathon runners zoomed around the park at paces of about 5 minutes a mile, one of them collapsed and died. It astounded me that someone in the best shape of his life could die like that. The autopsy showed the cause of death was due to an irregular heartbeat as a result of his scarred, enlarged heart.

But this is a real risk only for elite athletes. For the rest of us, Cornwell reminds us, “exercise undoubtedly remains one of, if not the best, methods to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” And most of us, including me, need to be doing more of it, not less. That’s also the message health and biomedicine editor Vivian Lam, who edited the story, hopes to leave you with.

Bryan Keogh

Managing Editor

Readers' picks

An enlarged heart can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Professional Studio Images/E+ via Getty Images

Your heart changes in size and shape with exercise – this can lead to heart problems for some athletes and gym rats

William Cornwell, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

People who regularly engage in significant amounts of exercise, as endurance athletes do, may develop enlarged hearts. While athletic heart is adapted for performance, it can be cause for concern.

Editors' picks

From ‘Russia with Love’ meets ‘Moonraker’? Grigory Sysoev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Is Russia looking to put nukes in space? Doing so would undermine global stability and ignite an anti-satellite arms race

Spenser A. Warren, University of California, San Diego

Russia isn’t likely to put nuclear missiles in space, but their reported anti-satellite weapon is just as alarming. An expert on nuclear strategy explains.

News Quiz 🧠

  • The Conversation U.S. weekly news quiz

    Fritz Holznagel, The Conversation

    Test your knowledge with a weekly quiz drawn from some of our favorite stories. This week, a special "Where are you?" edition

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