AM I WRONG? NEW STUDY SAYS MARATHONS MAY HARM THE HEART

     A recently released report examined possible heart damage that may result from marathon running.  But don’t toss out your running gear just yet.  As the article below quotes one doctor as saying, “This does not mean that (running) is bad for you; rather it identifies an area of susceptibility on which to focus treatment and preventative measures.” 
     The benefits of running are many and well-documented; this study seems to indicate that some care needs to be exercised to be able to reap the benefits of long distance running, while minimizing the associated risks.  A balanced program that incorporates various modes of training – such as I advocate in Smart Marathon Training – might be just the ticket.
     For more about the study, read the article below from HealthDay:

Marathons May Damage Part of Heart: Study

But this doesn’t mean endurance sports are bad for you, researcher says

Illustration of the human heart

     WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — Some endurance athletes may suffer damage to the heart’s right ventricle, research shows, but the findings do not suggest that this type of exercise is unhealthy, researchers say.
     The right ventricle is one of the four chambers in the heart involved in pumping blood.
     The study included 40 elite athletes in Australia who competed in one of four types of endurance events: marathons, endurance triathlons, alpine cycling or ultra triathlons. The athletes were well-trained and had no known heart problems.
     The athletes’ hearts were assessed two to three weeks before the race, within an hour after the race, and six to 11 days after the race.
     Immediately after the events, the athletes’ hearts had increased in volume and the function of the right ventricle had decreased. A week later, this damage was reversed in most of the athletes but five of them (13 percent) showed evidence of permanent damage, with MRI showing scarring of the heart muscle (fibrosis). The five athletes had been competing in endurance sports for longer than those who did not have fibrosis.
     None of the athletes had any changes in the left ventricle, according to the study published in the Dec. 7 online edition of the European Heart Journal.
     “Our study identifies the right ventricle as being most susceptible to exercise-induced injury and suggests that the right ventricle should be a focus of attention as we try to determine the clinical significance of these results,” Dr. Andre La Gerche, a postdoctoral research fellow at St. Vincent’s Hospital at the University of Melbourne, Australia, said in a journal news release.
     “Large, prospective, multi-center trials are required to elucidate whether extreme exercise may promote arrhythmias in some athletes. To draw an analogy, some tennis players develop tennis elbow. This does not mean that tennis is bad for you; rather it identifies an area of susceptibility on which to focus treatment and preventative measures,” said La Gerche, who is currently based at the University Hospital Leuven in Belgium.
     “It is most important that our findings are not over-extrapolated to infer that endurance exercise is unhealthy,” he added. “Our data do not support this premise.”
     More information: The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood SOURCE: European Heart Journal, news release, Dec. 6, 2011 Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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