Skip to content

Running marathons can reduce your cardiovascular age

 January 14, 2020

 According to a study, training for marathons and completing them can reduce cardiovascular age in new runners up to 4 years.

138 new runners were enrolled in a new research in the University College London. They underwent 6 months of training to attempt the London Marathon, and studies showed that after this training period, their arteries became more elastic, reducing their risk of suffering from cardiovascular events.

The effect of exercise in their blood pressure readings was similar to that found after using prescribed pills, and the least fit individuals appeared to have the highest benefit.

That’s why the British Heart Foundation recommends increasing your physical activity levels. Because even smaller amounts of exercise can have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.

Did they run very fast?
In the study, the participants completed the 26.2 miles of a marathon an average 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours. This is not extremely fast, very close to the median finishing time for men and women in the U.S.

Was it considered dangerous?
According to Dr. Charlotte Manisty, the only way marathons can be dangerous is that you have a previous cardiac condition. If you have existing heart diseases or chronic health conditions, it is a good idea to talk about your marathon plans with your doctor first. There may be undiagnosed patients with severe heart conditions, but this is quite rare.

How do you train for a marathon?
Training for a marathon can be a challenge, but one you should take some time ahead. Start training months before your marathon, and do not try to run 26 miles right away. Listen to your body and run according to your current levels of fitness, starting with a warm-up and increasing the distance every time.

Remember to let your muscles recover and program rest days between your run days. Do not forget to ask a doctor about any doubt you may have.

How much exercise do I need to be healthy?
The minimum exercise can be measured over the course of a week. It depends on the type of exercise you choose to perform:

  • Moderate-intensity exercise: Includes brisk walking and cycling. 150 minutes a week is the minimum exercise time to attain cardiovascular benefits.
  • Vigorous exercise: Includes running, and playing tough sports such as rugby or football. 75 minutes a week is the bare minimum if you’re after cardiovascular risk reduction.

Additionally, the recommendations include strengthening activities every week. Twice a week is a good interval, and you can do bodyweight exercises at home (push-ups) or lift weights at the gym.

These numbers are the minimum to get a healthier body and cardiovascular system. As professor Metin Avkiran stated, the benefits of exercise are undeniable. If you keep active, your risk of suffering stroke, heart attack, and other events is reduced.

That is one of many reasons why physical activity improves your quality of life and may also contribute to increasing your lifespan.