The average recreational male runner

A recent study has confirmed that marathon training could reduce the risk of heart disease in the average male runner.

Researchers studied 45 recreational male runners between 35 and 65. They were invited to participate in the 18-week training programme, and were instructed to run 12 to 36 miles each week. Running logs were used to keep track of their adherence to the programme.

“We chose charity runners because we wanted to focus on the non-elite type of runner, just the average Joe who decides to get out there and train for a marathon,” said Jodi L. Zilinski, M.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital, and lead investigator of the study.

Study findings

Prior to beginning the training programme, participants underwent a full medical evaluation. They were also re-evaluated at the end of the training programme, prior to running the marathon.

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By the end of the study, cholesterol levels in the participants had fallen by four percent. There was also a four percent increase in peak oxygen consumption, a measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness, which is a potent prognostic marker of cardiovascular mortality.

“Overall, participants experienced cardiac remodelling – improvements in the size, shape, structure and function of the heart,” Zilinski said.

Final words

Zilinski said that the study underscores the potential for regular exercise to improve risk factors for heart disease, but cautions that individuals should always check with their health care provider, prior to participating in a rigorous training program.

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Source: American College of Cardiology via ScienceDaily

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