Running Young: Marathon Training 'Reverses' Aging of Blood Vessels


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 06 May 2019

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

Running Young

Training for First-Time Marathon 'Reverses' Aging of Blood Vessels,
European Society of Cardiology, May 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Running Young
"Training for and completing a first-time marathon "reverses" ageing of major blood vessels, according to research presented today..."

Four Years
"Novice runners who trained for six months and completed their first marathon had a four-year reduction in arterial age and a 4 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure. This is comparable to the effect of medication, and if maintained translates to approximately 10% lower risk of stroke over a lifetime."

Potential
"Compared to their peers, lifelong athletes have biologically younger blood vessels. This study investigated whether training for a marathon could modify aortic stiffness even in novice runners."

Test Group
139 healthy first-time marathon runners aged 21-69 years who were advised to follow a first-time finisher training programme and ran an estimated 6-13 miles (10-20 km) a week for six months ahead of completing the 2016 or 2017 London Marathon.
(My standard training program averages 24.5 miles per week, running 7 miles, up & down a ridge, every other day.)

Amazing Results
After completing the marathon, aortic stiffness had reduced and the aorta was four years younger than before training. Older participants and those with longer marathon finish times had greater reductions in aortic stiffness after training. Reductions in aortic stiffness were independent of changes in blood pressure.

Your Potential
"You don't have to be an elite athlete to gain the benefits from marathon running, in fact the benefits appeared greatest in those who were older and slower. By completing training, and getting to the finish line, it is possible to rejuvenate the cardiovascular system of first-time marathon runners."

Never Too Late
"The study shows that the health gains of lifelong exercise start to appear after a relatively brief training programme."

 

 

Bottom Line

I believe training for a different objective, other than a marathon, such as long distance High Sierra backpacking, will produce amazing long-term results.

Maintaining the fitness necessary for four season High Sierra backpacking will not just keep you, "young," but will achieve optimal metabolic efficiency, with all the mental and physical benefits that entails.

 

Practical Applications

Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide

Training for the Trail

 

 

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