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Friday, August 31, 2012

Older runners can compete in marathonswithout worrying about permanent cardiac damage

Lorraine Moller winning the first
ever London Marathon.
Now over 50yrs and still no signs of
heart damage!
Older runners can compete in marathons without worrying about permanent cardiac damage, a new study has found. Headed up by Manitoba University professor Davinder Jassal, a team of researchers subjected a group of healthy volunteers from the 2010 and 2011 Manitoba Full Marathons to blood tests, heart ultrasounds, and CT and MRI scans. The group discovered that marathon runners over 50 had the same temporary cardiac abnormalities post-race as younger runners, but didn't incur any permanent damage. "What our study shows is that if you've trained well and you've done your homework in terms of keeping yourself hydrated, things will be OK," Jassal told theCanadian Broadcasting Corporation. The number of Canadians over 50 who run in marathons has doubled over the past two decades.

When you finish a marathon it is "normal" that you muscles will be extremely sore and stiff as boards.  As you cross the line, your legs are more than likely operating like wooden ones than anything else.  And it will be several days before you are even half way back to running "normally"!

Your heart is a muscle and it is equally affected.  If we were to monitor the blood pressures and pulse of a marathon runner for several hour following running a marathon (I have done this) we will find that the pulse remains weak and unresponsive and blood pressure low to the point of being downright unhealthy.  Fortunately, as this report above bears out, there does not appear to be lasting damage.

Having said this I would still take great care of my heart if I were you - runner or not.  Marathon running does not confer immunity from heart disease.  Here's a ground-breaking article on the subject:

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The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation.  Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.

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