Marathon running is bad for your heart? Say it isn’t so!

I am an avid recreational runner. I am just about to come up on my 2 year anniversary of being a pretty regular runner, see Operation: Marathon. So it was pretty disturbing to see these two abstracts getting press form the 2010 American College of Cardiology:

  1. Researchers have shown that long-term marathon runners, those who have completed at least 25 marathons over the past 25 years, have increased coronary calcium and calcified plaque volume.
  2. A second group did a study which suggested that marathon runners had increased aortic stiffness compared with individuals who exercised recreationally
I would really like to stress that both of these studies do not look at patient oriented endpoints but intermediate end-points. I would hesitate to turn anyone off of exercise, which I tell my patients is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, until we had data containing hard end-points.
To corroborate that, the first study looked at a number of other cardiovascular risk factors, and all of these pointed to improved cardiovascular risk profiles:
  • lower heart rate
  • lower body weight
  • lower BMI
  • Higher HDL-cholesterol levels
The press release is at this link, but you will need to register to get to the meat.

One Reply to “Marathon running is bad for your heart? Say it isn’t so!”

  1. I read articles about this health risk of joining marathon's but I've also read that only those who are not physically fit persons has the high health risk in attending marathon's.

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