Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Is running the key to heart health?

Being a runner for my entire adult life, I was interested in an article I recently read related to distance running. A new study has found that people who complete their first marathon took 4 years off of their "blood vessel age." That's pretty remarkable! Considering I've completed a few marathons, my blood vessel age must be that of a toddler - OK, maybe not that young. Basically the study shows that stressing our heart and blood vessels is good for us.

I think the key takeaway from this study is that we need to move our bodies in ways that increase our heart rate. Just like we need to practice musical instruments to become more skilled, we need to stress our heart and circulatory system so that it become for efficient.

So, does that mean that everyone needs to run a marathon? Absolutely not! Running isn't for everyone. Some people find it very boring. Some have underlying conditions (arthritic knees, bad feet, etc.) that make running impossible. But, most of us can find some kind of alternative to running that will act in the same manner on our heart. Options include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, basketball, racket sports, elliptical trainers and many others. The main goal is to move your body enough to cause your heart rate to increase for an extended period of time. The more days per week you can accomplish this goal, the healthier your heart will be in the long run.

If you want to read more about this study, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.