To Run or Not to Run… That is the Question
When we think of an ultimate athlete, the people that we usually think of are those of greatness. We may think of Arnold Schwarzenegger all greased up and flexing for the cameras or maybe we think of Michael Phelps’ unbelievable, record-setting Olympic feats. I know that as an endurance athlete, I tend to think of Lance Armstrong (possible superhero name?) killing the Alps in that yellow jersey of his and bursting to the front of the pack on what appears to be a motorcycle. The point is, when we think of athletic prowess, we all of have different opinions as to what takes athleticism and what does not. However, one constant is the respect that has been shown for the “classic” endurance activity: the marathon.
At 26.2 miles of leg-burning, heart-pumping intensity, no one can deny the athletic ability needed to accomplish such an endeavor. However, is this event doing more harm then good? Is all this training really so good for the body? Recent studies have already disproved the ancient myth about a lifetime runner’s knees being blown out by age 45 but what about the rest of the body? The heart, for instance, takes a massive beating during a marathon.
In an article printed in TIME Magazine, Dr. Eric Larose helps us understand the toll that a marathon can take on a runner’s heart. He states that the strain that’s seen in the hearts of recent marathon finishers is akin to that of a heart attack patient. He claims that after a marathon, an enzyme that is released into the bloodstream during a heart attack is present in large volume in the body.
Moreover, after a heart attack, there is a lot of inflammation in the heart and even dead tissue present. Both of these effects can be seen in the post-marathon participant. Shockingly enough, Dr. Larose states that if a heart were examined without the knowledge that the patient just ran a marathon, the hearts of a heart attack patient and the post-marathoner would look identical. This new information now poses the question: How can running a marathon be beneficial to our body and health if our own body responds as if it is experiencing a heart attack?
Shouldn’t exercise have positive benefits on the body?
For more information, check out this video. http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,652007320001_2028032,00.html
Written by Vertex Fitness Staff