Running marathons will reverse a dangerous aspect of the aging cycle

by Bhushan

Posted on March 17, 2020 at 12:00 PM

We have heard about the effects of exercising for a long time. Today, a recent analysis found that one particular feature of fitness — that is, preparing for a single goal — can be of considerable benefit.

The importance of purpose-oriented exercise specifically ties in with the aging cycle. When a person grows older they become more likely to stiffen their arteries.

Aerobic activity can reduce arterial stiffening and is used as an indicator of cardiovascular problems by the medical community.

Nonetheless, a type of exercise that is likely to work for everybody is hard for doctors to prescribe.

Nevertheless, new studies show that preparing and running a marathon could be an ideal option for those trying to boost their cardiovascular health.

Training for the marathon

None of the athletes had ever run a marathon and none had any serious medical history or a pre-existing heart condition.

Also, they all worked an average of 2 hours a week before beginning the analysis.

Just over half of the participants were girls, the party aged 37 years.

The researchers have recommended each athlete to follow the Beginner's Training Program for the marathon, which consists of about three runs per week for 17 weeks leading up to the race.

The weekly workout got more vigorous as the weeks progressed.

A 4-year reduction

Once the participants started their marathon preparation the study team used cardiovascular magnetic resonance to test their blood pressure and aortic stiffness.

Use their own age and the aortic stiffness measures from three stages of the artery, the researchers measured the biological age of each human aorta. After the marathon, they took the same measurements within 1 to 3 weeks. A study of 27,000 runners ' average finish times indicated the participants were running between 6 and 13 miles a week in preparation.

Among the runners, the men took 4.5 hours on average to complete the race and the women took 5.4 hours.

Comparing the tests both before and after the race, the researchers observed that both blood pressure and aortic stiffness of the first-time marathon runners had reduced.

Notably, the aortic stiffness changes were equal to a 4-year decline in vascular age.

Ironically, older male athletes who were slower and had higher average blood pressure benefited the most from the scheme and competition in running.

Never too late to change

Senior author Dr Charlotte H. Manisty, who works at University College London's Institute of Cardiovascular Science and the Barts Heart Center in London, UK, reflects on the findings:

"These effects have been demonstrated in mostly healthy individuals over a wide age spectrum," she says, "and their marathon times indicate realistic exercise training in inexperienced participants." People with higher arterial stiffness and hypertension can benefit from this type of exercise even further, but future research will need to check this hypothesis.

However, it can not be inferred that the above results were created by exercise alone.

Might have had a role to play in the healthy lifestyle decisions that also surround marathons running, such as a balanced diet and sleeping schedule.

This is also likely that certain participants follow a separate training scheme than the prescribed scheme, suggesting that a systematic methodology would be required for further study.

Nonetheless, the results demonstrate "the value of lifestyle improvements to delay the risks associated with aging, particularly because it never appears to be too late as demonstrated by our older, slower athletes," says Dr. Manisty.

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