What is safer? Running a Marathon or Running with Scissors.


Many of my fellow marathoners, triathletes and cyclists were surprised with yesterday’s headline “Marathons may be bad for your health“.   After last weeks story on exercise can be bad for some people, I thought to myself “Am I in a parallel universe?”.   I read a couple articles in leading papers on the study.  Scary words like heart scarring, artery calcium deposits and heart attacks ran wild.  It mentioned iniquitous deeds like running fast, long and often like they were comparable to chain smoking, eating fast food and being a couch potato.

After a got past the media sensationalism and looked deeper, there were some striking findings with the studies.  Enough to make you reevaluate your endurance lifestyle.  If not just because of the physical risks/benefits, but also the emotional, social and intellectual too.

Instead of giving you my options or other writer’s options, read the review article yourself…




  1. Kelly Wright

    My comment (I have to have one!) is that of course exercise causes remodeling of your body! You can see changes on the outside, and there’s some on the inside too. Exercise is a stress, causing the body to respond to that stress acutely and chronically by adaptive changes, some of which may even look like changes we see in unhealthy patients. But the authors note that they are confused by this finding, noting that “lifelong vigorous exercisers generally have low mortality rates and excellent functional capacity.” I think it’s because when endurance athletes have a heart attack, their heart knows how to respond to that stress. We see athletes recover from illnesses, surgery, etc, much better and faster than their unfit counterparts. And how often do I see a patient who works out too much? I haven’t found one yet …

    • Patrick

      Thanks Kelly! I was hoping you would respond to this. You have a much better insight than I. What was your thoughts on the myocardial scarring in 12% of the runners and 50% of the endurance athletes had ventricular arrhythmias in the studies?

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