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Healthy Heart and Running - Can Running Scar Your Heart?

by James
(London)

Can running scar your heart? I read that ultra runners and marathon runners can scar their hearts. If so what is this? And I do 15 miles to 20 miles a week at 10 to 12 min per mile.






I am a 50 year old male. The hype one gets in magazines on running gives the impression that running / jogging is good for the mind, body and heart. Now I am a bit confused.

Can you help me?

Thanks,
James

running tips
Answer by Dominique:

Hi James,
Thanks for your question about scarring your heart by running.

Let me re-assure you, running is a very healthy activity to engage in.

It helps you manage your weight, makes you feel better and makes your heart stronger!

Definitely good for mind, body and heart.

However, what you have read is not completely without foundation.

A study has found some heart damage (scarring) amongst elite athletes. These were people that had been part of national teams. People that had run more than 100 marathons.

So people that would have been doing more than 60 miles per week for years and years and years.

Your level of exercise is very healthy and should not be a reason for concern.

I guess there is still more to be discovered on this issue, e.g.:

  • Why do not all elite athletes get this?


  • Where is the threshold between what is good and what becomes unsafe?


  • What are the learnings from this for us, everyday people?


  • How will this affect how elite athletes train in the future?


  • In the meantime, please feel assured that the running you are doing is good for you.

    Kind regards,
    Dominique

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