Study finds amateur runners may be at risk for temporary heart damage


Quebec City – Marathon running may overly strain the heart, especially for amateurs with less training, concludes a study from the University Institute of Cardiology and Pneumology Quebec.

To study how long-distance running affected the heart, researchers examined 20 recreational runners before, on the day of and two days after the Quebec City Marathon. Runners did not have pre-existing heart conditions.

After the race, half were found to have a decrease in ventricular function. In some cases, the heart also had swelling and reduced blood flow. Changes in the heart were more prevalent among runners who were less fit and less prepared, according to a press release.

Although temporary, the changes may contribute to the risk of heart problems, the study abstract states. Researchers said the findings suggest runners need to train before a long-distance run and have a certain fitness level so their heart can recover from the stress of the run.

The study was published in the October issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.