Debbie Downer

L.A. Marathon: Don't Drop Dead, Because Running a Lot Could be Bad For Your Heart

Comments (0)


Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM
click to enlarge Run in moderation. - MIKE BAIRD
  • Mike Baird
  • Run in moderation.

Have fun at the L.A. Marathon Sunday but don't drop dead.

Seriously. Turns out those ironic tales about hardcore athletes and fitness fanatics taking their last steps during grueling runs might not be so rare. Running could actually be bad for your health.

Seriously. Well, there is a catch ...

... and that is, it would take lots and lots of running for your exercise to become a health risk.

A study published last month in the Journal of Applied Physiology looked at male athletes and couch potatoes young and old and concluded that half the oldsters (over 50) who had trained long and hard in events such as marathons had heart problems.

The men had a high rate of heart muscle scarring called myocardial fibrosis (not good).

A summary:

An unexpectedly high prevalence (50%) of myocardial fibrosis was observed in healthy, asymptomatic life-long veteran male athletes, compared to zero cases in age-matched veteran controls and young athletes. This data suggests a link between life-long endurance exercise and myocardial fibrosis that requires further investigation.

But experts caution not to take this to mean that you shouldn't exercise regularly or even run the occasional marathon if you're healthy. But it does say something for those older ultra-marathon types.

Dr. Paul Thompson, the chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, tells the New York Times this:

Too much exercise has not been a big problem in America. Most people just run to stay in shape, and for them, the evidence is quite strong that endurance exercise is good.

Related Content


Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.