It is indeed a matter of pride if you have the stamina to run distances 25 miles and more. But wait, is it as good for your health as running is? Many people are of the opinion that a person, who can run that much of a distance with ease, has an optimal health and is at his prime fitness level. Well, the following pointers will change the way you think.
• The physical exertion of long-distance runners causes the walls of the arteries’ to become thick and clogged. This provides less space and more friction for a normal blood flow. Other heart conditions like a congenital problem and blocked blood vessels are a possibility.
• When serious physical exertion is required, the heart has to work extra hard to suffice the blood flow requirement of the body. As a result of which, the heart pumps more blood than it is supposed to, resulting in enlargement of the heart. Though an enlarged heart may also be due to a family history, it is usually due to the immense physical effort.
• Another problem arises since marathon runners tend to drink a lot of water while running. A runner sweats while running which means a loss of sodium from the body. When he drinks a lot of water, more of the sodium goes away with the urine. A condition that arises out of it is known as hyponatremia.
• A lot of fluid consumption during physical exertion entails that the muscles cannot properly obey the electrical transmissions sent by the heart. This may lead to cardiac arrest.
• More often than not runners believe that it doesn’t matter what they eat they are eventually going to burn it all off when they run. However, that is not the case. A diet rich in saturated foods lead to shortness of breath and various health complications over time.
• The high amount of carbohydrates that are consumed by marathon runners to suffice a physical exertion of this scale and magnitude causes inflammation of the heart.
• Researchers have established that an overweight man leading a sedimentary lifestyle is fitter than a runner who runs a minimum of one marathon a year. Shocking, isn’t it?
Apart from the risk factors listed above, marathon runners also face some of the risks listed below.
• Soreness and stiffness of the muscles
• Shin splints
• Sprained, torn and strained muscles
• Mood swings
• Inflammation of the tendons
• Deposition of calcium in the heels of the feet
• Loss in bone density
• Upper respiratory infections
• Reduced fat metabolism
• Depletion of muscle tissue
• Systemic inflation due to carbohydrate consumption
• The thyroid and adrenal glands weaken due to the exertion
Keeping these risk factors in mind, one may devise a plan of action for a marathon. There are a lot of fitness clubs that help with an all encompassing diet plan – diet, medications and fitness schedule. It is however better to also consider the fact that man was not made to work this way!