Health Care

Running a marathon can make your heart 4 years younger

Running a marathon can make your heart 4 years younger”

Tests included blood pressure measurements, measurements of aortic stiffness by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging and the determination of their vascular age. Older, slower marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure reaped the greatest benefits.

They write: "This study emphasizes the importance of lifestyle in modifying the aging process, particularly because it seems" never too late "to get the benefit as seen in older and slower corridors".

Manisty's team acknowledged that the study of healthy marathon-finishers precludes the generalizability of their results to hypertensive individuals and those who didn't complete the marathon.

In the initial measurements, all participants ran no more than two hours per week and had no previous marathon experience.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggested that for first-time marathon runners, training and completing the marathon was associated with reductions in blood pressure and aortic stiffening that were equivalent to an nearly four-year reduction in 'aortic age'. While blood pressure treatment can adjust arterial stiffness in habitual heart disease, additional cardiovascular occurrences take place in persons without recognized escalated blood pressure.

The researchers found that the marathon training decreased systolic blood pressure - when the heart beats - by 4 units (mmHg), and diastolic blood pressure - when the heart rests between beats - decreased by 3 units (mmHg).

"These benefits were observed in healthy individuals in general over a wide age range and their marathon times suggest exercise training attainable in novice participants".

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Although the study only recruited healthy participants, those with hypertension and stiffer arteries might be expected to have an even greater cardiovascular response to exercise training.

The average running time for those in the group was 5.4 hours for women and 4.5 hours for men.

Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said: 'The benefits of exercise are undeniable.

"Setting yourself a goal - such as training for a marathon - is a great way to stay motivated and follow through on your New Year health resolutions".

Study lead Dr Charlotte Manisty said: 'As clinicians are meeting with patients in the new year, making a goal-oriented exercise training recommendation - such as signing up for a marathon or fun-run - may be a good motivator for our patients to keep active. "This is running for health benefits for normal, real-world people running real-world marathons", Manisty says. Record at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. In addition, training for marathons usually involves various concomitant approaches such as better sleep and dietary patterns, and in some instances, over-the-counter supplements, that may confound or interact with exercise training per se.

'Even a brisk walk on your lunch break will steer you towards better heart and circulatory health'.

The study is published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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