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Is Running Bad For You?

Well, a new study reveals just that: too much strenuous, fast-paced running is actually not as good for you as you'd think.

The age old cardio exercise of running may not be the best thing for you.

CARDIO AND ITS LINK TO MORTALITY RATES

Are you a treadmill warrior who logs several hours and miles a week on their fitness tracker, or do you take a more casual approach to your cardiovascular training? If you are the former, brace yourselves: during a 12-year follow up, those who ran at a fast-paced three-time a week for over 4 hours were found to have the same mortality rate as sedentary individuals who didn’t exercise much, if at all.1 In other words, running too much was, in fact, negating the benefits of cardio.

Essentially, those that ran in excess and those who didn’t run at all were both linked to higher death rates.2

Those with the lowest mortality rate during the follow-up were individuals who ran less than 3 times a week for a total of 1-2.4 hours at a moderate to slow pace.1 It’s important to note that several factors were taken into account like sex, age, and a history of their heart health.

So, how can excessive, fast-paced cardio possibly lead to higher risk of mortality?

Too much running may negatively affect heart health by leading to enlarged hearts, essentially making it more difficult to pump blood to the organs. Prolonged, intense running multiple times a week may also lead to abnormal heart rhythms.2

Those with the lowest mortality rate during the follow-up were individuals who ran less than 3 times a week for a total of 1-2.4 hours at a moderate to slow pace.

SHOULD YOU STOP RUNNING?

Running should definitely not be avoided. After all, it offers a wide variety of cardiovascular, mental, and physical health benefits, and recent research has shown that jogging and moderately-paced running has also been linked to reductions in risks of certain cancers.3

Don't take running out of the equation but as always take everything in moderation.

Cardiovascular exercise is important for overall health and well-being. The takeaway is, instead of running yourself into the ground, switch up your form of exercise. Essentially, a balance of cardio is important.

Instead of running 4+ hours a week, throttle back to 1-2.4 hours a week (at a moderate pace) and mix in some weight-lifting. You don’t necessarily need to hit the gym to get some good resistance exercise if you don’t want to. You can implement effective body-weight exercises in the comfort of your own home.

Remember: It’s ok to train and complete in marathons, half marathons, and 5ks. It's ok to engage in cardiovascular exercise. Just keep in mind, when it comes to running, moderation is key.

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Stefan R. Wilson
Stefan R. Wilson is a marketing professional, as well as a freelance author for nutritional supplements. He is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and holds a BS from Brigham Young University. Stefan's expertise resides in the field of supplements to be used by athletes and bodybuilders while training.

REFERENCES

  1. Peter Schnohr, MD, DMSc, et al. Dose of Jogging and Long-Term Mortality. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(5):411-419. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.11.023.
  2. Alice Park. When Exercise Does More Harm Than Good. TIME.
  3. Thompson, D. (2015, June 2). Exercise May Blunt a Woman's Risk of Lung and Breast Cancer: Studies. Retrieved June 11, 2015.

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