Study: Ultras Bad For Your Heart

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jun. 5, 2012
  • Updated Jun. 5, 2012 at 9:47 AM UTC
Could too much running could be bad for the heart? Photo:

Too much running could lead to permanent damage.

Some potentially bad news for ultrarunning enthusiasts: a recent study published online at Mayo Clinic Proceedings, is saying that “excessive exercise endurance” may actually be putting people at risk for permanent heart damage.

The study’s co-author, James O’Keefe, of the Mid-America Heart Institute of Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City had this to say: ”A routine of daily physical activity can be highly effective for prevention and treatment of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, heart failure and obesity.”

However, O’Keefe reviewed additional literature on “extreme-endurance” events like ultras, and found that over time, this type of strenuous exercise could be causing irreversible damage to the heart.

“Physical exercise, though not a drug, possesses many traits of a powerful pharmacologic agent,” O’Keefe wrote. “As with any pharmacologic agent, a safe upper dose limit potentially exists, beyond which the adverse effects of physical exercise, such as musculoskeletal trauma and cardiovascular stress, may outweigh its benefits.”

For More: Huffington Post


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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