Marathons Are Bad For You

I blogged the fact that I lost two stones of weight in six months without going hungry, dieting or exercising below.  At least dieting in the sense of cutting back and feeling hungry.  I did this by sticking with the stone age diet six days a week, allowing one day for sin such as drinking wine or eating sugared cakes.  My health has been very good, with much better energy.  Here now is the same message for exercise.   Do why we did when we were living in caves, and your health will benefit.  The good news is, it’s easy, costs less, and takes less time.

Long-Distance Running Damages Your Heart

Do you pride yourself on running mile upon mile, week after week? Do you love the challenge and adrenaline rush that comes from completing a marathon?
Let me preface the information that follows by saying this: as a former sub 3-hour marathon runner myself, I understand the drive that pushes many athletes and weekend warriors to compete in these strenuous events. But now that I have examined the research, I firmly believe doing so may put your heart at risk. For example, two recent studies showed:
  • Heart damage after lifelong cardio: In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology,v researchers recruited a group of extremely fit older men. All of them were members of the 100 Marathon club, meaning athletes who had completed a minimum of 100 marathons. If running marathons provided cardiovascular benefit this would certainly be the group you would want to seriously examine. So what did they find?
  • Half of the older lifelong athletes showed some heart muscle scarring as a result, and they were specifically the men who had trained the longest and hardest.
  • Heart scarring after elite cardio training: An animal study published in the journal Circulationvi was designed to mimic the strenuous daily exercise load of serious marathoners over the course of 10 years. All the rats had normal, healthy hearts at the outset of the study, but by the end most of them had developed “diffuse scarring and some structural changes, similar to the changes seen in the human endurance athletes.”

Is There a Better Way to Exercise?

Science now suggests that the best fitness regimen is actually one that mimics the movements of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which included short bursts of high-intensity activities, but not long-distance running such as is required to complete a marathon. The idea behind “hunter-gatherer fitness” is to closely emulate the actions that ancient man took on a daily basis. This is what your body is hard-wired for, after all, and includes such attributes as:
  • A variety of exercises performed regularly (weight training, cardio, stretching, etc.)
  • Alternate difficult days with easier days
  • Interval training sessions performed once or twice a week
  • Weight training at least twice a week
  • Ample time for rest after physical exertion
Your exercise program should be challenging, as it was for our ancestors, but it should not be excessive and it should be paired with ample time for recovery. Just as too much strenuous exercise can hurt your heart, too little will not be enough to give you the benefits.
The good news is, the most recent research shows that relatively short bursts of intense exercise—even if done only a total of a few minutes each week—can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits you get from doing hours of conventional exercise.

Dr Mercola.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

7 Responses to “Marathons Are Bad For You”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Cobblers. My cat never exercises and he’s as fit as a flea.

    Hunter-Gatherers just walked a lot. Don’t bother with gyms. Empty your mind and just walk.

    Only drink distilled water.
    Take Chlorella
    Eat Bee pollen.

    Eat natural things like butter and olive oil. Eat everything that is not too processed. Eat meat.

    I’m over 70 and as fit as my cat.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Tapestry
    Just for your info.
    A new Mayan calendar has been found which adds 7000 years to 2012.
    So bang goes all of those conspiracy sites with End of the World 2012 doom and gloom.
    Whatever will these people do now.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Ooops on the health and exercise front I forgot to add “lots of wine”

    Drink lots of wine.


  4. Julia says:

    I agree, walking is good stuff for your health. But the intention is important too. Whatever you do, if you do it with joy, you will get far more benefit. if you do something because you have read about it, but you don’t like it, you just want a reward of some sort (like being thinner or fitter), you will get negative effects. THis probably applies to marathons too.
    Personally I find gentle physical work very healthy and enjoyable. much better than the desk work I used to do.

  5. Tapestry says:

    It’s the same with food, Julia. I love the things I eat now, much as I hated eating convenience foods but was too lazy to stop. Being married/ with partner, means being lazy doesn’t matter any more. I get great healthy food and don’t miss cakes, bread, jams and pre made meals one bit.

    Exercise must be fun. I agree. The marathon thing is a status thing now. Far better to go for a walk, or hit balls around a field or something you enjoy doing.

    When I was ill, the first thing the hospital insisted on was that I stopped all excessive exercise while my heart recovered. Obvious really. Now I can do two hours tennis again and feel younger than I did ten years ago. I had a major five year detox program, and re-oxygenation including oxygen breathing machine for many years. We were heavily toxed from farming as kids with fly sprays, mercury in teeth and lead in water supply. It took three years of daily sweating in saunas and here in the Phils to get my levels down to more acceptable levels, which my nervous system can now cope with.

    Bit long. Sorry. Just people might be interested.

  6. Tapestry says:

    Distilled water? Better to filter all consumed water down to half a micron. Many important nutrients are contained in water. Also distilled is distributed in plastic bottles, and you can’t know how old it is. The laws on bottled waters permit more toxins than for drinking water.

    Filter whole house down to 1 micron. That takes out toxic metals and tetra-chlorates.

  7. Myosource says:

    Great article. I would say anything in moderation is going to be better for you.

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