Whether it’s for losing weight or preparing for the next marathon, regular running can do wonders to your health and overall well being levels. No doubts. Running sheds crazy calories, improves mood and cardiovascular functioning and will help you get into the best shape of your life. In addition, running is very convenient, no need for any special equipments; all you need is decent shoes and off you go.
Nevertheless, many people have linked running with serious heart problems. Not only that, some even believe that running is a killer. Of course, it can be really tragic hearing news of people dying during or after completing a marathon.
Though these incidents are real, we need to take the fiction out of the facts and look at some of the scientific studies conducted on the subject at hands.
Running, Heart Problems, and Scientific Evidence
According to a study published by the American Journal of Cardiology in 2001, a higher rate of inflammatory and coagularion markers—which are similar to heart attacks—have been detected on runners’ hearts after finishing marathons. Nevertheless, this is not a call for worry. The risk is still fairly minute. In fact, according to a Canadian study, the risk of sudden cardiac death from a marathon is 0.8 per 100,000 participants.
Furthermore, no apparent link between long distance running and accelerated rates of heart attacks has ever been found. In the New England Journal Medicine, researchers have analyzed and cross-examined data pertaining to 10.9 million marathoners and half-marathoners between 2000 and 2010. The conclusion was that the rate of the risk of heart attack during long distance running is relatively low, even lower than participating in jogging or other low-intensity workouts.
The fact of the matter is that regular running and other form of intense exercises can decrease the chances of serious heart attack by up to 50 percent. A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , concluded that runners suffer from less diabetes, have lower high blood pressure, and have fewer strokes. Hence running adds years to your life, not the other way around.
Take Extra Precautions
Nonetheless, taking the right precautions is the best prevention approach. Some studies have suggested that people with already heart problems are more likely to suffer from cardiac trouble during high intense exercise.
Therefore, make sure to stay in the safe zone by doing the following:
Examine your family tree. The biggest danger that lurks in the shadows is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a genetic heart functioning irregularity). Hence you need to look for any cases of sudden death or heart attacks in your family members younger than 50. If the case is so, pay a visit to a cardiologist and take electrocardiogram (ECG) or an echocardiogram test to determine if you’ve inherited yourself the dreadful disease.
Limit your mileage. In a study of more than 1800 runners, the researchers concluded that running more miles leads to greater health benefits, up to 40 miles per week. Hence, running for more 40 miles may prove futile.
Monitor your heart rate. Keep tags on your regular heart rate and if you take notice of any irregularity, you may be suffering from overtraining. If the case persists, seek doctor’s advice.
When it comes to staying injury and trouble-free while exercising, moderation is the way to go. So make sure to take exercise within your skill level and to always take ample recovery.
About the author: David DACK is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.
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Links and references:
American Journal of Cardiology, vol 88, pp 920-923, 2001