Extreme endurance exercise carries risks
June 4th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Extreme endurance exercise carries risks

The old adage, “all good things in moderation,” may be true, especially when it comes to exercise.

In an article in this month’s Mayo Clinic Proccedings researchers looked at an emerging body of papers that point to the fact that even exercise can have diminishing returns.

The authors surveyed more than 50 different studies that followed athletes who chronically trained and participated in extreme endurance events, such as marathons, ultramarathons, Ironman triathlons, and long-distance bicycle races. The studies found that excessive training and competing can cause cardiovascular damage such as scarring and enlargement of the heart and blood vessels, as well as irregular heart beating.

The paper cited that veteran marathon runners and professional cyclists were five times more likely to have irregular heart beats.

While rare, there have been incidences where runners have actually collapsed from cardiac arrest during long road races.

But the authors were also adamant that these findings should not dissuade people from regular exercise.  Lead author Dr. James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at the Mid America Heart Institute, said, “We want people to understand that this in no way detracts from the importance of exercise.  Physically active people are much happier than their sedentary counterparts. So much so, that they live up to seven years longer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, five times a week, in addition to two days or more of muscle strengthening activity.

O’Keefe said that many people misunderstand exercise and think more is always better.

He points to his own patients - many are athletes who come in and say they are training for marathons, running several hours a day. O’Keefe tells them that it’s not good orthopedically.

"It’s definitely not good for your heart in the long run. If you want to do it, train up for it, and cross it off your bucket list. This is not a healthy, long-term exercise pattern.”

Rather O'Keefe suggests people do a lot of brisk to moderate exercise like walking, jogging, and swimming.

“You can do light to moderate exercise as long as you want. We’re genetically designed for that kind of activity. We’re just not designed to run 26 miles at a time, or 100, or go on a full distance triathlon for 12 hours as hard as you can go.”

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. FgvdZisse

    online pharmacy reviews mexican pharmacy online rx pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. NllpZisse

    indian pharmacy specialty pharmacy rx pharmacy online

    January 12, 2021 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. LokuEncox

    us pharmacy canadian pharmacy cialis canada rx pharmacy

    January 13, 2021 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FgnhZisse

    viagra professional generic viagra discover card viagra usa viagra dapoxetine buy cheap viagra gold genric viagra chap viagra viagra in cape town generic viagra australia genaric viagra alternatives to viagra men viagra without a prescription viagra amex viagra super force 50 mg viagra

    January 16, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. NlbxZisse

    viagra online by paypal cheap generic viagra 100mg viagraonline\\ viagra order autsralia drug similiar to viagra fast shipping viagra cheap viagra liverpool over counter viagra canada brand viagra on the web generic viagra 100 viagra order how much is viagra in tuajuana with a prescription viagra patent expiration cialis & viagra how safe is viagra

    January 16, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. JvcxCrulk

    viagra reviews forum viagra buy online canada how do i get viagra without a prescription viagra uk viagra discounr does generic viagra work viagra suppliers online paypal viagra uk generic viagra paypal viagra australian registered viagra with paypal 150 mg viagra where to buy cheap viagra from an american company slang for viagra viagra buy cheap

    January 18, 2021 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. KbctMile

    get online cialis without prescription overnight cialis 20 mg for sale buy generic cialis http://mycialedst.com/ – cialis online without a prescription ’

    January 19, 2021 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FbdhZisse

    cialis 10mg ireland cialis no prescription overnight cialis generic dapoxetine http://21cialismen.com/ – cialis with dapoxetine australia overnight delivery ’

    January 21, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AqbvEncox

    viagra overnight delivery generic viagra generic viagra online http://acialaarx.com/ – viagra for sale cheap ’

    January 21, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NlbxZisse

    cialis south africa cialis one a day buy brand cialis http://cialijomen.com/ – cialis super active 20mg ’

    January 21, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JbdcEncox

    viagra australia online viagra australia buy generic viagra 50mg http://llviabest.com/ – viagra cheap online ’

    January 21, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JvcbxCrulk

    cialis professional vs cialis super active cialis on ebay generic cialis dapoxetine http://phrcialiled.com/ – cialis and viagra mix ’

    January 22, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. LcxEncox

    brand viagra offers viagra 2 day shipping viagrapatent expiration date http://genqpviag.com/ – when will viagra patent run out? ’

    January 22, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.