Why so many runners die young-1st of 2 parts.
January, 2011 (phone call). “Karen, how are things at the factory?” (Where I worked many years ago).
“Good, but our new salesman isn’t doing the best”.
“I thought Randy was your salesman, and was doing great”
“He was great–did an awesome job, but had a heart attack one day, and died instantly.”
“Karen, did Randy take care of himself?”
“Yes, he did….ran 5-7 miles a day…none of us could figure it out….”
“I’m so sorry to hear that, Karen….”
Many people think this is a fluke. They hear about someone who ate well, ran often, got plenty of rest, and died at a very young age of a heart attack.
It’s horrible that this happens, but it’s often not a fluke.
Very long periods of exercise are one of the easiest ways to create oxidative stress (premature aging) in our cardiovascular systems. I realize this flies in the face of many common thoughts on exercise, so I’ll explain more:
Exercise has many benefits. Far too many to mention in this article.
However, exercise also takes a toll on the human body in the form of free radical damage. Free radicals are “angry” oxygen atoms that are missing an electron. These “angry” atoms float through the body, causing havoc on the cells they try to “steal” electrons from.
As this happens, the cells in the body are damaged as a result, and our cardiovascular systems are part of that damage.
In his book, The Antioxidant Revolution, Dr Kenneth Cooper summarized that long periods of intense aerobic exercise are capable of being harming one’s health. He also stated that too much exercise can actually increase the risk of developing medical problems, and attributed it to the formation of free radicals.
Furthermore, a 2011 study from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that increased amounts of atherosclerosis in the carotid and peripheral arteries were found in male marathon runners. (In case you missed that, I’ll paraphrase: Marathon Runners=Atherosclerosis!).
Exercise is a wonderful thing. We are designed to exercise, and if we go back thousands of years, we’d find those people probably ran for short bursts as life would demand of them.
However, exercise time/intensity works as a bell curve. No exercise is not good for our body, some exercise is good/great, and long periods of intense, extended exercise becomes bad once again.
So, am I recommending a runner stops running? Kickboxing class-goer stop going? Absolutely not.
On my next post, I’ll be sharing what natural, easily obtainable foods EVERY heavy exerciser needs to continue their passion while drastically preventing heart disease.
Oh yea, for tips on permanently losing weight, click here.
The Antioxidant Revolution: Kenneth Cooper, MD. Thomas Nelson, 1997
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: July, 2011-vol. 43- Issue 7, pp. 1142-1147. Kroger, Knut1; Lehmann, Nils2; Rappaport, Lisa1; Perrey, Mareike3; Sorokin, Alexey3; Budde, Thomas4; Heusch, Gerd5; Jockle, Karl-Heinz2; Thompson, Paul D.6; Erbel, Raimund3; Mohlenkamp, Stefan3