Runners live longer, but extreme endurance exercise damages heart

The CNN “The Chart” blog reports, “The old adage, “all good things in moderation,” may be true, especially when it comes to exercise,” according to two new studies.

HealthDay reports, “Runners appear to live longer, new research suggests.” However, “there is likely a tipping point, concluded the authors of another new study that looked at the cardiovascular health of endurance athletes, when the heart no longer benefits and may even suffer damage.”

In the first study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting, researchers “used data from the National Death Index and found that the runners had about a 20 percent lower mortality rate than the non-runners, said lead researcher Dr. Chip Lavie.”

The Time “Healthland” blog reports that in the other study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers found that “among 14,000 runners, the optimal amount of exercise appeared to be about 10 to 15 miles per week.”

One of the researchers said, “We were thinking that we would see progressively more benefit the more you ran,” although “we thought it would level off at some point. But not only did the runners not get more benefit, but the more they did, the faster they ran, the more frequently they ran, the more miles they ran, they actually seemed to lose any benefit to the heart.”

WebMD reports, “In one of several studies cited in the review, researchers compared 102 healthy male runners, aged 50 to 72, to 102 men who did not run.”

Approximately “12% of the marathon runners had heart scarring. It was three times more common in them than in the comparison group.”

Over “a two-year follow-up, the marathoners were more likely to have a heart attack or other heart or stroke-related problem.”

A Reuters article discusses individuals who exercise too much, and the potential adverse health effects of doing so.

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