Is distance running bad for your health?

Before embarking on endurance events, it’s important to get a checkup to make sure all your parts are in good working order. I’m a firm believer that healthy living, eating, exercise and otherwise contributes to longevity and health. We only get one body, so we’ve got to do the best we can to take care of it!


My dad inspired me to run my first marathon. Now he’s trying to talk me out of doing another one.

The problem is all the buzz lately about the potential long-term danger of “chronic” endurance exercise. Marathoning in particular has been linked to surprising levels of arterial plaque – more so than in a sedentary control group – in this study published in the March/April issue of Missouri Medicine.

The problem appears to be “oxidative stress,” which is what happens when an overabundance of free radicals produced over long periods of exertion begin to overwhelm the body’s supply of antioxidants, according to this piece on Now, with the popularity of endurance events at an all-time high, runners and triathletes are being advised to scale back on weekly mileage.

Not surprisingly, Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World has a more relaxed take on the issue. He notes that this study looked…

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2 thoughts on “Is distance running bad for your health?

  1. Thus, a causeand-
    effect relationship between marathon running
    and accelerated coronar y plaque development cannot
    be established.

    That is a quote from the research. I am a believer that oxidative stress, post workout can be lessened by consuming anti-oxidants in the recovery drink as soon as possible after workout. I am not sure that the researchers accounted for the difference in blood volume between sedentary men and marathon runners. A higher blood volume might account for a higher plaques volume. And the end result; does marathoning increase chances of cardiac incident regardless of plaque volume.

  2. Good points Marvin! I still think it’s important to get a health check regardless–definitely hereditary factors out of our control no matter how fit we are. All we can do is take the best care of what we’ve got. I think the article opens up good dialogue so thanks for responding!

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