Running and your heart. The NY Times looks at running and cardiac health.
Most of us have heard that running is good for your heart, and for your overall fitness. Some sources seem to show that too much running can also damage the heart. The NY marathon is one of the safest running events in the country with very few fatalities, but for those who do have heart problems after or during the race, the running create the problem or were there unknown issues prior to running the race.
Check the article out here
What Running Can Do for the HeartBy GRETCHEN REYNOLDS An ingenious new study of marathon runners and their non-running spouses should reassure anyone headed for a spring marathon that prolonged training doesn’t damage the heart, a concern that has been raised in previous research. At the same time, becoming fit as a marathoner doesn’t seem to protect the heart to the extent you might expect, although it may have unexpected benefits for your spouse.
While we all know that exercise is healthy, some research has begun to raise questions about whether it’s possible to overdo a good thing. A few studies have found that long-time endurance athletes can have a heightened risk for abnormal heartbeats, and even for scarring of the heart muscle. Likewise, experiments with lab animals have found possible links between prolonged, extremely strenuous running and undesirable changes in the structure and function of the heart.
But the actual incidence of runners having a heart attack during a marathon race is vanishingly small, a finding that seems to suggest that marathon training can’t be excessively hard on hearts or there would be greater, obvious consequences.
Such inconsistencies in the data about prolonged endurance exercise and heart health prompted researchers to wonder if perhaps past studies had been too imprecise. It’s difficult to isolate the risks associated with strenuous exercise from other lifestyle factors, said Beth Taylor, an assistant professor in the health sciences department at the University of Hartford who led the new study, which was published last month in BMJ Open. Runners whose hearts seemed to have been affected by their exercise habits might also have smoked, gorged on junk food or otherwise imperiled their hearts, separately from how much they worked out.