Marathon running is bad for you, and it's best to keep exercise to a maximum of 50 minutes a day say doctors
High intensity exercise continued over hours and repeated regularly over years and decades “stretches” the heart
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 29 November 2012
Marathon running is bad for you if you keep on doing it, doctors say.
One or a few is fine but after that it is best to restrict vigorous exercise to a maximum of 50 minutes a day they say.
High intensity exercise continued over hours and repeated regularly over years and decades “stretches” the heart, disrupting muscle fibres and causing micro-tears that do permanent damage.
There are signs of damage after a single marathon but these rapidly return to normal after a week. If the damage is repeated, however, it can eventually lead to scarring and stiffness.
Cardiologists from the US say in an editorial in the journal Heart that the idea that more and more high intensity exercise is good for you is a myth.
Vigorous exercise is good for health but only if it is limited to a maximum daily dose of between 30 and 50 minutes.
“If you really want to do a marathon or full distance triathlon, it may be best to do just one or a few and then proceed to safer and healthier exercise patterns,” they warn.
“A routine of moderate physical activity will add life to your years as well as years to your life. In contrast, running too far, too fast, and for too many years may speed one’s progress to towards the finishing line of life.”
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