Is extreme endurance training and competitions like marathons healthy?
No one can dispute that regular exercise is beneficial, but sometimes we tend to think that more is better.
The reviewed research investigated the effects of training for, and the participation in endurance competitions like marathon ultra-marathon, Iron-man distance triathlons and very long-distance bicycle racing (Patil HR, et al. 2012).
In veteran extreme endurance athletes the recurrent injury and repair to the heart muscle that occur in these athletes may essentially create arrhythmias.
Chronic excessive and sustained endurance exercise may be associated with diastolic dysfunction, large-artery wall stiffening and coronary artery calcification.
Don’t draw the conclusion that exercise is dangerous, and that it is better not to exercise, because that is not true. Most endurance athletes don’t even develop these conditions, but if you’re thinking about starting to run marathons for health reasons, you may want to rethink that and instead start to do high-intensity interval training. High-intensity interval training takes a lot less time, and has shown to provide numerous health benefits.