Running a Marathon Can Increase Cardiac Strain in Amateur Runners

Full marathons may significantly raise concentrations of several biomarkers of strain on the heart, according to new research in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association.

Investigators in Spain compared levels of cardiac biomarkers, including – troponin I and troponin T- in 21 groups of 3 runners each after each individually ran an endurance race of three different lengths – a full marathon, a half marathon and a 10K race. All of the 63 subjects were amateur runners. They also measured levels of biomarkers for cardiac tissue stress.

Although there was little difference in 10-year risk for cardiovascular events between the runners (average about 3 percent), the strain on the heart muscle, as measured by the biomarker levels, was much greater after a full marathon.

The incidence of cardiac arrests in marathoners is only about 1 in 50,000 runners who compete in races, but a high proportion of all exercise-induced cardiac events occur during marathons, especially in men 35 years of age and older.

The number of subjects in the study was not large enough to accurately assess differences in 10-year cardiovascular risk, but the researchers are planning to examine this in a larger group of runners, said lead investigator Juan Del Coso, Ph.D., director of the exercise physiology laboratory at Camilo José Cela University, in Madrid, Spain.

“We typically assume that marathon runners are healthy individuals, without risk factors that might predispose them to a cardiac event during or after a race. But with the growing popularity of long-endurance races, the exponential increase in the number of participants, and the lack of appropriate training in some cohorts of amateur runners, our findings suggest that running shorter endurance races might reduce the strain imposed on the myocardium during running competition,” Del Coso said.

Source: American Heart Association


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The Benefits of Running vs. Walking

Sally Wadyka wrote . . . . . . .

Running and walking are both excellent forms of exercise. Those who regularly do either typically have healthier hearts, stronger bones, and lower body weights than their sedentary counterparts.

The current Physical Activity Guidelines, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, call for a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity.

So does it matter whether you get those minutes walking or running? Arguments can made for both—and which is right for you depends on your goals and your current fitness level.

If You Want to Maximize Calorie Burning

“The key difference between running and walking is how many calories you are burning—not per mile, but per minute of exercise,” says Paul D. Thompson, M.D., chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital and and a professor of medicine and preventive cardiology at the University of Connecticut.

For a 160-pound person, walking at a brisk, 3.5-mph pace for 30 minutes will burn about 156 calories. But running at a 6-mph pace for that same 30 minutes will burn more than double the calories (about 356).

“Running is a less efficient movement, and it’s more demanding on the body, so it burns more calories per minute,” says Thompson. “But if you’ve got the time to walk long enough to burn the equivalent calories, then walking is fine.”

That said, if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, chances are neither running nor walking alone is going to do the trick. “Exercise on its own is not the best way to lose weight,” says Thompson. “Research has shown that it needs to be done along with calorie restriction.”

If You Want to Improve Heart Health

Running makes the heart work harder than walking, so it stands to reason that it would also make it healthier. But the answer again may come down to how much time you have.

In a 2013 study that analyzed data from the nearly 50,000 people involved in the National Runners’ Health Study II and National Walkers’ Health Study, researchers found that runners’ risk of cardiovascular disease was 4.5 percent lower than those who were inactive.

But walkers who expended the same amount of energy as runners daily—burned the same amount of calories—had a risk level that was 9 percent lower than those who were inactive.

If You Want to Reduce Belly Fat

You can help decrease how much fat you store in your middle if you pick up the pace by interspersing some stretches of all-out sprinting with your jog or walk.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)—a workout in which you alternate short bursts of activity at close to your peak heart rate with easier bouts—can help eat away at belly fat. A 2018 analysis of 39 studies, published in the journal Sports Medicine, concluded that HIIT reduced what’s called visceral fat by 1.8 percent.

This is important because visceral fat is located deep in the abdominal cavity, surrounding organs such as the liver and pancreas. That means the fat can trigger a variety of metabolic changes, including increased insulin resistance and higher triglyceride levels.

“Reducing visceral fat, even without losing weight, can improve overall health,” says Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., a professor of biobehavioral studies at Columbia University Teachers College. (Garber was not involved in the 2018 study.)

HIIT is also a great way to ease yourself into a running regimen, says Garber.

“Running is often a big step up in intensity from walking, so it’s best to add it into your routine gradually,” she says. “By alternating higher intensity intervals of running with lower-intensity walking intervals you’ll reap the benefits without putting excessive stress on your body.”

If You’re Worried About Your Joints

Runners pound the pavement, but running doesn’t necessarily lead to more arthritis than walking, according to recent research.

In a study published in 2017 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, almost 59 percent of non-runners had osteoarthritis in their knees compared with 53 percent of the runners; for the group that reported running the most, the prevalence dropped to about 51 percent.

Another study, published in 2013, that analyzed data from the National Runners’ Health Study found that those who ran more than 1.2 miles per day had a 15 percent lower risk of osteoarthritis and a 35 percent lower risk of hip replacement than those who were less active.

The researchers theorize that one of the reasons for fewer joint issues among the runners is that, as a whole, the runners had lower body mass indexes (BMI) than the walkers. Lower weight means less stress on the joints—even during a high-impact activity like running.

“Running gets the reputation for causing injuries because many people who are just starting to run try to do too much too quickly,” Garber says. “And they often get injured as a result.”

If you want to progress from walking to running, do it slowly, gradually increasing your speed, distance, and the frequency of your runs.

So Should You Walk or Run?

Running may be more high-intensity and calorie-burning than walking, but walking is a great way to ease into exercise—no matter what your current health status—and make sure you’re staying physically active every day.

The bottom line is that getting exercise of any kind is beneficial—provided you stick with it.

“The best exercise is the one you are going to do,” says Thompson. “There are additional benefits to be gained from running, but what’s most important from a public health point of view is that everyone gets out and does some kind of exercise.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Even a One-Minute Run Might Help a Woman’s Bones

Just a minute or two of running every day could strengthen your bones, new research suggests.

British scientists found that women who engage in “brief bursts” of any high-intensity, weight-bearing physical activity had 4 percent better bone health than their less active peers.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s better to accumulate this small amount of exercise in bits throughout each day or all at once, and also whether a slightly longer bout of exercise on one or two days per week is just as good as one to two minutes a day,” said study author Victoria Stiles. She’s a senior lecturer in Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter.

“But there’s a clear link between this kind of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women,” Stiles said in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers compared data on more than 2,500 women. The women wore monitors for one week to track their activity levels, and underwent ultrasounds of their heel bones to assess their bone health.

“We wanted to make every second count in our analysis, because short snippets of high-intensity activity are more beneficial to bone health than longer, continuous periods,” Stiles said. “We were careful not to ignore short bursts of activity throughout the day.”

Women who exercised intensely for more than two minutes each day had 6 percent better bone health. For younger women, this was the equivalent of a medium-paced run. For postmenopausal women, this meant a slow jog, the researchers said.

Since the findings are based on a particular group of women at a specific point in time, it’s unclear if the intense physical activity improved the women’s bone health or if women with stronger bones tend to do more of this type of exercise. So, the study did not prove that running causes bone health to improve.

“However, it seems likely that just one to two minutes of running a day is good for bone health,” Stiles said.

Source: HealthDay


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Walking vs. Running — Which Is Better?

Regina Boyle Wheeler wrote . . . . . .

Running and walking are both popular ways to get a great cardio workout. But is a brisk walk really as good an exercise as a sweaty, heart-pounding run?

Research reported by the American Heart Association finds that walking is just as good as running when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease.

Researchers analyzed the health of some 48,000 runners and walkers mainly in 40s and 50s. They found that, mile for mile, brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.

The difference? You’ll have to spend more time walking than you do running to get the same health benefits simply because it takes longer to walk than to run the same distance. For instance, a 15-minute jog burns about the same number of calories as a half-hour brisk walk.

Keep in mind that the chance of being injured is greater in runners because running puts more stress on the body — on the joints in particular.

But if you’re still thinking of stepping up the pace to running, first check with your doctor, especially if you have arthritis or other health conditions, like heart disease.

And keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to either walking or running. You can stay motivated by mixing it up. What’s more, adding short sprints to your walking routine will give you a bigger calorie-burning boost for your efforts.

Source: HealthDay


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Study: Running Actually Lowers Inflammation in Knee Joints

We all know that running causes a bit of inflammation and soreness, and that’s just the price you pay for cardiovascular health. You know; no pain, no gain.

Well, maybe not. New research from BYU exercise science professors finds that pro-inflammatory molecules actually go down in the knee joint after running.

In other words, it appears running can reduce joint inflammation.

“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.”

In a study recently published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, Seeley and a group of BYU colleagues, as well as Dr. Eric Robinson from Intermountain Healthcare, measured inflammation markers in the knee joint fluid of several healthy men and women aged 18–35, both before and after running.

The researchers found that the specific markers they were looking for in the extracted synovial fluid—two cytokines named GM-CSF and IL-15—decreased in concentration in the subjects after 30 minutes of running. When the same fluids were extracted before and after a non-running condition, the inflammation markers stayed at similar levels.

“What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health,” said study lead author Robert Hyldahl, BYU assistant professor of exercise science.

Hyldahl said the study results indicate running is chondroprotective, which means exercise may help delay the onset of joint degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.

This is potentially great news, since osteoarthritis—the painful disease where cartilage at the end of bones wears down and gradually worsens over time—affects about 27 million people in the United States.

“This study does not indicate that distance runners are any more likely to get osteoarthritis than any other person,” Seeley said. “Instead, this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine.”

Source: Brigham Young University


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