While many people discuss the negative effects of running a marathon on the body, very few people actually address the positive effects of running those races. A recent research presented at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology has revealed that the human body can actually benefit from running marathons.
As long as running marathon is done under training based on the physical abilities of the runner, there are many benefits. Apart from the fact that marathon training can possibly reverse vascular aging, the study found that the main beneficiaries who benefit most of the marathon running are older and slower runners.
Training for a first-time marathon reverses vascular aging
Anish Bhuva, the leader of the team doing the study, revealed that there were four years in arterial age reduction and 4 mmHg reduction in the systolic blood pressure for new marathon runners who trained for six months and completed their first marathon. Anish opinion that these results, if maintained, could reduce the risk of stroke by 10% in the life of the runner.
Risk of stroke and heart disease are increased by the rigidity of blood vessels, which is one of the features of aging. The study sought to investigate whether training for marathons would modify the aortic stiffness of novice marathon runners since people who have done a physical activity all their lives have biologically younger blood vessels.
The study was done with 139 volunteers between the ages of 21 to 69 who were given a training program which they were recommended to follow. The program involved running ten to twenty kilometers every week during the six months before the Marathon.
Before their training began, all the novice participants had to take a few tests such as blood pressure and heart rate measurement, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound of the heart and blood vessels.
After their marathon race, novice participants who completed their race experienced a reduction in aortic stiffness. Their aorta also became four years younger. Some of the participants experienced greater reductions in aortic stiffness. Those participants included slower participants and older participants.
Should not be done recklessly
The study also revealed that those who had health challenges after participating in marathon races experienced such because they didn’t train adequately for their marathon race. Incidents like damage to organs, the drop of electrolytes as well as compromised immune systems happen because the body of the participant was not well prepared for the marathon race. Therefore, the study reveals that marathon race participants should train adequately before participating in marathon races.