I’ve never been a long-distance runner but thought this would be an interesting read. What I got out of the article: It’s fine to run but make sure to give your body enough rest in between long runs.
Marathons And Heart Health: Running Farther, Faster Could Shorten Your Life
Running long distance week after week, year after year, could do more harm to your heart than good, a new editorial published in the British journal Heart says.
The key to exercising for heart health, researchers argue, is limiting intense endurance activity to between 30 and 50 minutes a day.
The editorial’s authors point to accumulating evidence of heart damage in marathon runners tested right after races. Backing up this finding, wrote lead author James O’Keefe, M.D., head of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute at Saint Luke’s Health System, is the famous “Iron Mouse” study, which found scarring in the hearts of mice forced to run long distances every day for four months. However, the mice’s hearts returned to normal after they stopped running.
But the issue, according to the editorial, is that distance runners don’t take enough time off from the sport to allow their hearts to heal, especially as they age.
Up to 30 percent of marathons have elevated levels of troponin, which is the marker of heart damage that usually indicates a heart attack. Even though the troponin level in marathoners isn’t nearly as high as in a person who has had a heart attack, the damage and scarring from running can add up over time — possibly shortening a runner’s life.
Read the rest of the article here.