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Older Marathon Runners Face Higher Health Risks

Updated on November 30, 2012

By older, we mean those runners who are generally 50+ years of age. One use to think that jogging and running in long marathons was nothing by "good" for the body, mind.

In a recent study, that has many older joggers now more concerned, it was found that running in marathons can take a toll on the heart over time and eliminates any health benefits! Doctors now feel that running too fast, too long, too far, may actually take you closer to the ultimate finish line-death. Still, runners still generally enjoy far better health than those who sit on the couch or do not exercise. But, what are we talking about?

Well, for many runners like myself who run a 3-5 miles a day, you can STOP READING. But, for those marathoners out there, who think by completing a 20 mile run is good for you, among 52,000 runners tracked for 30 years, doctors found those faced higher health risks. If you run more than eight miles an hour, the same conclusion was found. Runners who run at a slower pace, do reap health benefits.

Cardiologists universally agree that marathon runners have a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation, an arrhythmia that is the cause of a third of all strokes. If you are a chronic marathon runner, take notice. Runners have dropped dead in marathons.

Doctors indicate that if you are running more than 15 miles a week, that is extreme exercise that can render the body more susceptible to cancer. Also, pushing too hard after age 50, is not good advice, again, running more than 15 miles a week or running faster than eight miles an hour. For those extreme marathoners older than 50, doctors recommend running in 5k or 10k races. Running longer distances also wears out the joints, much like a tire on a car. The more and longer you run on them, the quicker they wear out.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Well there are worse things than dropping dead in a marathon. My brother turns 50 this year and has run 30 miles a week forever. He's the CFO of a company and this is his stress relief. He has done the Boston Marathon 12 times and a whole slew of others. I am not sure whether to send this to him or not. It may just depress him. He's at risk if he runs from running and a risk if he doesn't from of stress.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      I was shocked myself being a jogger, but I am not a marathoner.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Some interesting facts here. We ride bicycles so no worry. thanks for sharing some really valuable information. Sharing and voting UP.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Every so often you hear of an exceptionally healthy living marathon runner suffering heart problems. The unfortunate fact is that post exercise a whole host of negative health complications are implicated which showcases the requirement for recovery.