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 (290 Responses)
  1. LhdvZisse

    cialis before and after pictures https://asciled.com/ which one is better viagra or cialis

    April 30, 2021 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FbsfEncox

    non prescription online pharmacy reviews [url=https://uspharmus.com/ ]Aceon[/url] international pharmacy

    May 1, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. viagra prices canada

    generic viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra canada by mail

    May 1, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. GvdbCrulk

    5mg tadalafil online https://boxtadafil.com/ cheap tadalafil no prescription

    May 1, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. LrbsEncox

    levitra remedio where to buy levitra online levitra 20mg price in india

    May 2, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. BbdfMile

    i am a woman and i took viagra https://gensitecil.com/ – how long does it take for a 100mg viagra to kick in? viagra women

    May 2, 2021 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. GvdbCrulk

    sildenafil tadalafil combination https://boxtadafil.com/ – buy liquid tadalafil online tadalafil without a prescription

    May 2, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. JbsdEncox

    internet pharmacy https://onlinecanda21.com/ my canadian pharmacy

    May 3, 2021 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AbdgEncox

    online prescription drugs http://canadianeve21.com/ Clozaril

    May 3, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. LhdvZisse

    cialis vs viagra http://asciled.com/ – cialis dapoxetine canada cialis for women dosage

    May 3, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. GtnbCrulk

    how much does viagra cost per pill https://jokviagra.com/ viagra actress

    May 3, 2021 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RebfZisse

    30 day free trial cialis http://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis on line purchase how much is a cialis

    May 4, 2021 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. FmrfEncox

    tadalafil cialis bestprice http://cialisee.com/ cialis online mastercard

    May 4, 2021 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LbsoZisse

    grapefruit juice and cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ pay cialis with pay pal

    May 5, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. LebnEncox

    best mail order pharmacy canada best online canadian pharmacy prescription pricing

    May 5, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine 100 mg buy avanafil uk

    May 5, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. AnooEncox

    can you buy viagra over the counter in india https://llviagra.com/ – recommended use of viagra viagra wikipedia tieng viet

    May 6, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. JebgEncox

    order pharmacy online egypt https://pharmacylo.com/ buy prescription drugs online

    May 6, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LbsoZisse

    cialis for sale in toronto https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis generic 20 mg 30 pills

    May 7, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. JebgEncox

    canadian pharmacy http://pharmacylo.com/ viagra pharmacy 100mg

    May 7, 2021 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. BbshMile

    buy viagra on line https://loxviagra.com/ women on viagra

    May 8, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FmrfEncox

    howard stern commercial cialis http://cialisee.com/ cialis with no prescription

    May 8, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. AnooEncox

    im 19 and want viagra https://llviagra.com/ – time for viagra to work viagra spam from my hotmail

    May 8, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. LebnEncox

    canadian online pharmacies prescription drugs http://xlnpharmacy.com/ Cordarone

    May 8, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RebfZisse

    cialis cheapest price http://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis 10mg cialis price

    May 9, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. GtnbCrulk

    does homemade viagra work http://jokviagra.com/ woman in viagra commercial

    May 10, 2021 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. BbshMile

    where can you buy viagra https://loxviagra.com/ – home remedies viagra generic viagra from canada

    May 10, 2021 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. GtnbCrulk

    genaric viagra http://jokviagra.com/ what happens when a girl takes viagra

    May 10, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RebfZisse

    cialis20mg online https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis online

    May 11, 2021 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Laverne Rezac

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs


    May 11, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FmrfEncox

    cialis, generic https://cialisee.com/ – vigra and cialis do you need a prescription for cialis

    May 11, 2021 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Pia Ekin

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 04:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. LbsoZisse

    cialis one a day with dapoxetine canada https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis canada and paypal

    May 12, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. AnooEncox

    viagra erectol https://llviagra.com/ – viagra commercial song good morning viagra motion sickness

    May 13, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LebnEncox

    pharmacy rx one https://xlnpharmacy.com/ online pharmacy fungal nail

    May 13, 2021 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. stornobrzinol

    Great tremendous issues here. I am very glad to look your post. Thank you a lot and i'm looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?


    May 13, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Leave a Reply to JvqqEncox


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.