The cardiovascular benefits of running have been highlighted following research into training for a debut marathon

Training for and completing a marathon causes cardiovascular benefits equivalent to around a four-year reduction in vascular age, a new study suggests.

The health benefits of running have further been highlighted following the research into training for a debut marathon, with findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

A group of 138 first-time marathoners were assessed by Barts Heart Centre and University College London following their journey of training for and completing the London Marathon. The purpose of the study was to determine whether real-world exercise training for a first-time marathon could reverse age-related aortic stiffening.

The study concluded that training for and completing a marathon, even at relatively low exercise intensity, reduces central blood pressure and aortic stiffness. The group of novice runners were aged between 21 and 69 years and had an estimated training schedule of 6 to 13 miles per week.

“Greater rejuvenation was observed in older, slower individuals,” added the study’s conclusion.

AW MD Wendy Sly, who claimed Olympic 3000m silver at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, is training for her first marathon in London in April and told Sky News: “Running a marathon or a half-marathon gives you a goal, so I think there’s a very good target for people who are trying to get fit. It puts you into a forced regime, almost, because you know that you have committed to do something in the future.

“We know generally that running is very good for you, for your heart and lungs, for your weight, for mental reasons and feeling good about yourself, plus it’s good for your bones and your muscles. So there’s nothing bad to really be said about it.”

The study is available here.

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