Furthermore from Equinox: Marathons Are Anti-Aging

woman running marathon, training for marathon, benefits of marathon

Photo credit: Mohamed Sadek

This story originally appeared on Furthermore from Equinox, the official wellness partner of The Related Life.

The training makes your heart act four years younger.

The science:

For a new study, researchers in London put 138 active people through marathon training for the first time.

Regardless of their pace, all runners had lower blood pressure and less aortic stiffness at the end of the six-month plan. The researchers say this knocked four years off of each person’s vascular age, which essentially means the heart was better able to pump blood throughout the body.

Expert insight:

As you get older, your arteries stiffen, reducing blood circulation, says Jonathan Drezner, MD, director of the UW Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology in Seattle who was not affiliated with the study.

Aerobic exercise can prevent that hardening, which helps you train longer and more intensely since more blood can reach your muscles, he explains. Cardio may have this effect because it dilates the blood vessels and causes your body to release beneficial hormones.

If cardio is a regular part of your routine, you're well protected—but if you only lift, you're not.

The bottom line:

The study definitely makes a case for running a marathon, but you can get the benefits from any activity that raises your heart rate. Drezner suggests working towards at least 75 minutes of intense cardio per week.

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