Marathons Damage Your Heart
...fortunately, the harm appears to be reversible
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2010 11:26 AM CDT
Updated Oct 30, 2010 8:31 AM CDT
Tomo Morimoto, center in a pink shirt, from Japan starts with other runners at the 37th Berlin Marathon in Berlin Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(Newser) – Running a marathon seems like a healthy thing to do, but it can actually hurt your heart—and not just if you’re out of shape. A Canadian cardiologist and marathon runner studied 20 other runners, some novice and some seasoned, six to eight weeks before their marathon, immediately after the race, and then three months later. He found that many distress signs were present before and immediately after the race, similar to what you might see during a heart attack, Time reports.

Before the race, the runners' hearts were functioning below normal capacity; right after crossing the finish line, the runners showed their highest levels of troponin, an enzyme that rises when blood flow is reduced—factors that damage heart muscle. But three months after the race, the damage appeared to have been reversed, and the heart functioned normally again. Though all runners were affected, fitness does matter: “People who were less ready or less fit pushed the envelope more and induced more reversible injury to the heart,” says the doctor.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Ma'at
Oct 31, 2010 11:28 AM CDT
Agreed. The impact of running over the years will tear you up. I think of what I used to have to do in PT and marvel at what I can no longer do. Did the same thing as you. Bought a bike. MUCH better. My body just doesn't take the physical pounding now. Too old for that.
postroad
Oct 30, 2010 9:37 AM CDT
Dumb article that concludes that all is well after a few months...no evidence that a marathon is bad or dangerous if you are in shape for it...I ran for some 25 years and did a dozen half marathons and one full marathon. Now, 81, my knees do not bother me at all and I am in decent shape (says my internist)...I can walk many miles, with weights, with ease, but I no longer run because I had PTSD after huge dog attack and then scatica, both putting me out of running shape. Just get out and do something. anything. Beats tv and computer for staying fit. Find that which you like and DO IT (nayh, not talking sex and drinking).
Hershey-Squirts
Oct 25, 2010 9:55 PM CDT
I swim doggy paddle style. It works a lot of muscles, but I look like a fool at the gym.