Study Says Running A Marathon Can Help You Live Longer | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Study Says Running A Marathon Can Help You Live Longer

We all have that one annoying pal who doesn’t stop raving on about their last marathon, but turns out they may be on to something. 

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that training and running for a marathon for the first time can help you live longer.

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Research suggests that preparing for the long-distance endurance race could see participants reduce their “vascular age” by four years. Runners in the findings saw improvements in blood pressure and eased age-related effects on the body’s main artery. 

“Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of ageing on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months,” says senior author Dr. Charlotte Manisty, a senior lecturer at University College London and a consultant cardiologist at the Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals.

“These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants.”

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Older, slower male runners saw the biggest improvements.

Recruiting 138 healthy first-time marathon runners aged between 21 and 29, researchers examined the volunteers six months before they began their preparation and three weeks after completing the London Marathon. 

Instead of putting them on a workout plan, study authors left participants to work off the “Beginner’s Training Plan” provided by the marathon – three runs per week, increasing difficulty over the six months in the lead up to the race. 

Man running

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Results showed that training decreased systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure while improving the aorta, the primary artery in the body.

Interestingly, how well they ran the race was irrelevant. 

“We wanted to look at novice athletes. We didn’t include people who said they ran for more than two hours a week,” Manisty continues.

Manisty adds that these health benefits are not limited to marathon training and rather, having a structured plan is likely the explanation for these improvements. 

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