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Is running good for your heart?

Is Running Good for Your Heart?
Ella Tan
  • On May 31, 2015

Is Running Good for Your Heart?

Medhatter Contributor – Jessica Kane

Young Couple Jogging in Park

Young Couple Jogging in Park

People generally believe that exercise benefits their health. Running makes the heart beat faster, so it seems logical that the exertion would strengthen this organ. It’s true that running may benefit your heart. However, this activity can also harm it if you don’t monitor your heart rates.

A 2014 study revealed that running can decrease the risk of a heart attack. People reduce its likelihood by approximately 45 percent when they run occasionally, according to Women’s Health Magazine. This activity also resulted in longer lifespans and fewer fatal medical conditions.

Interestingly, the study found that it doesn’t make a difference when people run faster or exercise for longer periods of time. They were just as likely to remain in good health if they ran comparatively slowly for less than an hour every week.

Running or jogging decreases the risk of heart disease, too. Reader’s Digest reports that these activities accomplish this by minimizing blood pressure levels, helping the body absorb oxygen and eliminating fat. The magazine also indicated that joggers in Copenhagen live about six more years than other residents.

Potential Harm

Another study revealed that vigorous long-distance running could have the opposite effect. It compared marathon participants with relatively inactive people. The results showed that these runners’ blood vessels contained more plaque, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

This finding suggests that long-distance running increases the risk of heart attacks. It does this by placing too much stress on the heart. However, the study also indicated that marathon participants had better cholesterol rates and were much less likely to suffer from diabetes.

Canadian researchers made similar discoveries when they studied the health of runners who took part in Quebec City’s marathon. It caused heart swelling and reduced function of the ventricles, according to Business Insider. The need to pump tremendous amounts of blood may contribute to the harm.

Moderating Speed and Avoiding Excessive Exertion

Although the health effects of running have yet to be proven, these findings suggest that it makes sense to run at moderate speeds and avoid excessive exertion. A Mid-Atlantic Heart Institute doctor recently urged runners to participate in fewer than three marathons per year.

One study indicated that people became healthier when they ran no more than 45 minutes at a time for a maximum of 19 miles each week, according to However, the best distance is different for every person. Anyone with an existing heart condition should communicate with a physician before engaging in vigorous exercise.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who is trying to be healthier this year. She currently writes for AEDs Today, a leading supplier of automatic external defibrillators.

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