The pursuit of ultimate fitness my damage your heart. From today's Telegraph, we learn about some American research:
Extreme exercise such as marathons may permanently damage the heart and trigger rhythm abnormalities, warn researchers.
They say the safe ‘upper limit’ for heart health is a maximum of an hour a day - after which there is little benefit to the individual.
A review of research evidence by US physicians says intensive training schedules and extreme endurance competitions can cause long-term harm to people’s hearts.
Dr O’Keefe and colleagues said research suggests that extreme endurance training can cause transient structural cardiovascular changes and elevations of cardiac biomarkers, all of which return to normal within one week.
But for some individuals, over months and years of repetitive injury, this process can lead to the development of patchy scarring of certain areas of the heart, and abnormal heart rhythms.
In one study, approximately 12 per cent of apparently healthy marathon runners showed evidence for patchy myocardial scarring, and the coronary heart disease event rate during a two-year follow up was significantly higher in marathon runners than in runners not doing marathons.