Health x Wellness

Running Can Add Years To Your Life

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A research led by University College London and Barts Health NHS Trust suggests running a marathon for the first time could have health benefits.

The team of researchers looked at 138 healthy first-time marathon runners with an average age of 37 who were running in the 2016 and 2017 London Marathon. For 2016, the first study year, only participants aged 18-39 years were included, while in 2017, all ages were included in the study. The final age range was 21-69 years, with a mean age of 37; 51% of participants were female.

The participants were examined twice, before they start their training and after they’ve completed the marathon. This was done to ascertain a causality between long-distance running and age-related stiffening of one’s arteries (aortic stiffening), which is a normal part of aging but at the same time increase cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy individuals.

What the research discovered was the association of reductions in blood pressure and aortic stiffening with training and completing the marathon for first-time marathon runners. In fact the findings which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggested that the reductions were equivalent to an almost four-year reduction in ‘aortic age’. In addition, the older, slower male marathon runners with higher blood pressure at the start of the study appeared to benefit the most.

“The study points to a role for exercise in the reduction of arterial stiffness, a known ageing-related contributor to cardiovascular disease for which there currently is no good pharmacologic option”, said Julio Chirinos, MD, Phd. The challenge lies in implementing exercise interventions on a large scale in societies where “there remains an immense paradoxical gap” between the known benefits of physical activity and increasingly sedentary populations, he added.

With the festive season coming to an end, it’s time to burn those calories you’ve consumed and revisit the idea of exercising. Also, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your 2020 New Year resolution and/or bucket list of running a marathon for the first time.



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