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Proper Marathon Training Benefits Heart
- Updated: March 29, 2014
A new research presented at the 63rd Annual Scientific Session of American College of Cardiology reported that training for a big race may be an effective strategy for reducing heart disease risks.
The research involved 45 recreational male runners between age group of 35 and 65, who were taking part in the 2013 Boston Marathon for a fundraising team.
Lead researcher Dr. Jody L. Zilinski said that they purposely chose charity runners as they wanted to study the non-elite type of runner, just a normal guy who gets out of normal routine to train for marathon.
The 18 weeks long training program involved endurance training, group runs, a detailed training guide, nutrition tips, pacing advice, access to cross-training facilities and regular coaching contact in Boston. In different training phases, the participants run between 12 and 36 miles per week.
Participants maintained running logs which helped researchers track their adherence to the program.
Full medical evaluation was performed on runners before the training program, covering heart imaging studies, cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing, and cholesterol screening. More than half of them had at least single cardiovascular risk factor such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a heart disease history of family.
On re-evaluation after the training program, the team found remarkable changes in cardiovascular risk factors. The low-density lipoprotein, also known as bad cholesterol, fell by 5% and total cholesterol dropped by 4%, triglycerides by 15%. In addition, oxygen consumption increased by 4%, which indicates cardiorespiratory fitness.
They accomplished cardiac remodeling evident through improvements in the structure, size and function of the heart. Even when the participants were relatively healthy and were not exercise naïve, they still had overall improvements in key features related to heart health. -said Dr. Zilinski
The researchers say that the study was on a middle-age male population, thus they may not be applicable to others.