Are you looking for ways to improve your heart health? With heart disease responsible for over 610,000 deaths in the United States each year -- more than any other disease or illness -- you should take a proactive approach to improving your heart health. While eating the right foods can certainly lower your risk of heart disease, a new study has found that running just one marathon can have a positive impact on your heart health as well.
How Running a Marathon Can Improve Your Heart Health
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), running a marathon reverses the heart muscle's aging process. As we age, our hearts become weaker and, therefore, unable to pump blood as quickly or efficiently through the body. Running a single marathon, however, can reverse this aging process to restore your heart's health back to its youthful form.
For the study, researchers recruited 138 men and women between the ages of 21 and 69. For the next six months, researchers monitored participants running habits and their heart health. Researchers found that participants who ran just a single marathon experienced significant heart health benefits.
"Training for and completing a marathon even at relatively low exercise intensity reduces central blood pressure and aortic stiffness—equivalent to a ∼4-year reduction in vascular age. Greater rejuvenation was observed in older, slower individuals," wrote the study's authors and researchers.
Should You Run a Marathon?
Of course, running a marathon -- even if it's just a single marathon -- is no easy feat. At 26.2 miles, it can prove exhausting. Nonetheless, if you're able to make it, running a marathon could essentially lower the age of your hearth and, therefore, lower your risk of heart disease.
If you're going to run a marathon, you'll need to train for it. You can't expect to run for 26.2 miles straight unless your body is physically, as well as mentally, conditioned for long-distance running.
To train for a marathon, try to get into the habit of running at least two miles every few days. As your running endurance increases, you can perform longer runs. After training for three to six months, you should be ready to tackle your first marathon.
In addition to training, you should purchase the right running shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes is a serious mistake that can mean the difference between you completing and not completing the marathon.