As we all know, regular exercise is good for you. It helps lessen many chronic diseases and improves cardiovascular health. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 - 60 minutes a day of exercise. But what about the people who are training for hours upon hours for a marathon, tri-atholon or iron man competition? Research suggests that long-term excessive endurance exercise includes pathologic and potentially fatal structural remodeling of the heart and large arteries in some people.
There have been several studies done to support this idea. One study was in 2012 with the Mayo Clinic which stated that "Chronic training for and competing in extreme endurance events, such as marathons, ultramarathons (running longer than 26 miles), ironman distance triathlons and very long distance bicycle races, can cause transient acute volume overload of the atria and right ventricle, with transient reduction in the right ventricular ejection fraction and elevation of cardiac biomarkers... ." Okay I know alot of verbiage we don't all understand but basically excessive endurance exercises can affect the heart in a negative way. Multiple endurance activities over the course of many years can form scar tissue in the heart. The Mayo team of doctors agrees that one hour of daily exercise is healthy for the heart but anything beyond that on a regular basis can cause adverse affects in some individuals.
If you are training or want to train for an endurance event, that's ok but cross it off your list and return to a normal exercise pattern to produce health benefits and the longevity of your life.
I encourage you to get off the couch and get moving. Exercise is the best way to prevent many diseases like diabetes and hypertension and can allow for longer life. This is not to scare anyone but to educate. Knowledge is power! Take pride in your accomplishments with any endurance event and enjoy it but don't be excessive with it. I'll say it again, BALANCE is key!
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20