If you are one of the many people who thought that exercise was great for you and that the more, the better, you may need to think again. According to The Wall Street Journal sports writer, Kevin Helliker, “the line began to blur between the health effects of running marathons and eating cheeseburgers”.
There is an increasing number of studies that show that too much exercise may diminish the benefits of modest amounts and beyond 30 miles of running a week, the benefits of the running disappears.
The many benefits of running, such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol levels and better cardiac health are diminished when running is overdone and places the runner at risk of atrial fibrillation and coronary-artery plaque.
Anecdotal concerns about endurance athletics have been building for years. Cardiac conditions that required surgery have forced into retirement two winners of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. In 2011, Ironman winner Normann Stadler underwent emergency surgery to repair an enormous aortic aneurysm, a condition not caused but very possibly aggravated by endurance athletics. Research shows an association between endurance athletics and enlarged aortic roots.
Other recent studies suggest the significant mortality benefits of running may diminish or disappear at mileage exceeding 30 miles a week and other, very small studies have shown elevated levels of coronary plaque in serial marathoners—a problem that rigorous exercise theoretically could cause.
“Heart disease comes from inflammation and if you’re constantly, chronically inflaming yourself, never letting your body heal, why wouldn’t there be a relationship between over exercise and heart disease?” said John Mandrola, a cardiac electrophysiologist and columnist for TheHeart.org.