Get A Physical Examination Before You Take Part In A Marathon
It doesn’t matter how old you are; you should always contact your primary care doctor for a physical examination before you take part in a marathon. Through an exam, your doctor can make sure that you can physically handle the training and running that most marathons include.
The doctor can also give you any advice on how to build your training techniques to get you ready for the marathon. They can also explain to you what warning signs, you will feel if you start to push your body too much, are in the danger zone for a heat stroke, or anything else.
There are several benefits of running in a marathon, but one of the most important is that it improves your heart health. The first time you decide to take part in a marathon, your circulatory system will go back in time a few years, making you feel younger.
Senior researcher and cardiologist at the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at University College in London, Dr. Charlotte Manisty states, “Training for a marathon — even as a novice runner — has significant benefits on the cardiovascular system and can ‘reverse’ the effects of aging that we find in the major blood vessels by four years.”
Researchers Performed A Study To Support Their Thesis
One of the most significant steps researchers took to show the world that running in at least one marathon will improve their health is by conducting a study. They followed 138 participants who agreed to take part in their first marathon. These participants received several physical examinations and interviews to show their physical health before, during, and after their marathon.
All of the participants trained for the London Marathon throughout 2016 and 2017. They ranged in age from 21 to 69. The average age was 37, with male and female participants split evenly.
Participants Trained For Six Months But The Older Participants Showed Greater Benefits
All the participants received the same training for their first marathon. During these six months, professionals evaluated their health and performance. At the end of the six months, the participants’ blood vessels changed as they looked healthier and more flexible. They also showed a decrease in blood pressure, which is about the same as any medication would do for them.
One big difference between participants is the older men and women showed a more considerable change to their health than the younger participants. When the older participants started, their physical exams showed they were less fit than the younger participants. Therefore, the older runners felt the most excellent benefits.
Researchers Weren’t Surprised That Training For A Marathon Helps Reverse Aging
Director of Exercise Laboratories and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Barry Franklin, at the William Beaumont Hospital located in Royal Oak, Michigan, understands how exercise is similar to finding the fountain of youth. As a supporter of the study, Franklin states that the survey only further proves what he already knew – that exercise produces anti-aging effects.
It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you take part in, such as swimming, marathons, triathlons, or bicycling, you will find yourself feeling healthier and even looking a little younger. All types of exercise produce the same anti-aging effects, especially when it comes to the health of your heart.
Researchers Focused Heavily On The Stiffening Of Arteries During The Study
Before the participants started training, researchers examined them and paid close attention to their aorta, which is the body’s major artery. Once the participants completed the training program and the marathon, the researchers checked the major artery again.
The biggest problem with the aorta is it starts to stiffen during aging. This causes the heart to work harder, so blood can get through the body. In return, your heart starts to become tired and can become enlarged. By the end of the marathon, the stiffness of the aorta improved by 9%.
The aorta is the main artery in your body. It supplies oxygenated blood to your circulatory system through the heart and then down the backbone. Needless to say, this is a compelling part of your system, and the longer your aorta remains healthy and feels “young,” the healthier and younger you will feel.
After the study, researchers realized the significance that running in a marathon had on the participant’s aortas. With the participants running from 6 to 13 miles a week during training, they each shaved about four years off their aortas.
The study also confirmed that systolic and diastolic blood pressure on participants decreased by 3 to 4 points, which helps people stay healthy as you don’t want your blood pressure rising. Your systolic blood pressure is the top number that you want to keep under 120 points.
When the number is between 120 to 129, your blood pressure is elevated. High blood pressure stage one is when the number is between 130 and 130. High blood pressure stage two is when the number is between 140 to 180. When your systolic number is above 180, you need to consult your doctor immediately because this is the hypertension crisis stage.
You Also Need To Pay Attention To The Lower Blood Pressure Number
Your diastolic blood pressure number is the lower number is usually under 80 points. This number is also elevated when it is under 80 points. While you want to watch your blood pressure, if you are informed it is raised, this is nothing too scary, but you want to do what you can to lower your number to its normal range.
When the number is between 80 and 89 points, your blood pressure is high and in stage one. Stage two high blood pressure is between the points of 90 to 120. When your diastolic blood pressure points are over 120, you need to seek your doctor immediately because this is the hypertension crisis stage.
Lower Blood Pressure Points Helped The Aorta As Well
The main artery in your body, the aorta, is affected by many factors when it comes to your health. For example, if you have high blood pressure, your aorta will start to swell or become enlarged, which will begin to cause other health problems and become very serious. Doctors call an enlarged aorta an aortic aneurysm. When it becomes too large, the aorta can burst, which causes life-threatening bleeding.
One of the positives about running in a marathon is that the lower blood pressure points improved any potential swelling of the aorta by 9%, which is another reason that the aorta goes back in time four years.
Sometimes people don’t start exercising because they fear they won’t receive results. They might feel embarrassed to enter the gym or believe that they are already so unhealthy that making changes doesn’t matter to them. However, the researchers who conducted the study state that your age, weight, or level of fitness you are in doesn’t matter when it comes to the results.
You will achieve the same results as everyone else as long as you continue to train and run in the marathon. In fact, when it came to the study, the researchers noted that the fewer fit participants, in the beginning, worked harder and achieved excellent results.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it seems. While you might realize this already, especially if you are not a runner, for people who walk or jog, they might see training for a marathon easier than other people. However, researchers state that training for a marathon and going through with it means that you need to focus on essential steps behind the practice. For example, you need to create goals and stick to them to see the best results.
Goal making goes beyond the typical “I want to lose weight” or “I want to lower my blood pressure” comments and thoughts. It goes into writing down your goal and any steps you will take to achieve this goal. For instance, you will use your training and running in the marathon as steps to reach your goal.
Goal-setting will do more than help you reach your goal, and it will also help you create healthy habits. For example, if you train for a marathon for 30 days, your training schedule can become a habit – or at least a part of it. This is because you become used to the exercises or training program.
This is especially true if it is over 21 days because this is how many days it takes for an action we do every day to become a habit. Of course, if you only train about three days out of the week, the 21 days won’t necessarily apply. But, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have the urge to exercise a bit more.
While the participants in the study went through with running the marathon as it was part of the study, researchers confirm that you don’t need to go this far. You will receive the same benefits whether you train for the marathon or you decide to train and run in the marathon.
The key is that you need to focus on your healthier goals and ensure you reach them. This is the real trick when it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle and making sure that your health doesn’t take a turn for the worse when you are done with the marathon.
Your Lifestyle Changes Are A Big Reason To Better Health
It isn’t simply training and running in a marathon that gives you better health. You can do this and then go back to your old unhealthy habits, stop exercising, and quickly find yourself in poor health. You need to continue to follow through with your healthy lifestyle choices as these will continue to increase your health and make you feel better.
This means that you need to get enough sleep, eat healthily, and continue to exercise. It is important to note that exercise doesn’t mean you have to run or go to the gym. It is going for a walk for 20 minutes or so every day.
This study isn’t the only one that has focused on how running a marathon can help you better your health. Many other studies report the same results. This helps make all the reviews supportive of each other, but it doesn’t mean that all the studies came up with the same conclusion. For instance, one study focused on how regular exercise lowers a person’s risk of heart attack by up to 50%.
Other studies show that exercise stabilizes blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol. Even though the studies support each other, researchers are still conducting studies so they can gain a better understanding of the correlations between exercise and health.
When people start to exercise, they usually want to lose weight as fast as possible. They want to start feeling stronger and healthier as soon as possible. While there are exercise programs that will help with this, researchers believe that it is best to use a slow and gradual approach.
Some studies show that by slowly increasing your exercise schedule, you are more likely to stick with it. On top of this, your health benefits are more likely to stick with you. For instance, there are more stories of people gaining all their weight back when they lost is quicker than people who lose weight with a slow approach. Another reason is that you are less likely to feel tired and give up on your new exercise routine.
Many Participants Feel It Was The Training Program That Contributed To Their Healthier Selves
When researchers asked the participants what they feel contributed to their healthier lifestyle, they stated it is the training program over running in a marathon. Both the researchers and the participants agreed that the one-time event of running in a marathon did little when it came to changing over to a healthier lifestyle. They believe it is the fact that the participants started a training program that they enjoyed and want to continue.
In fact, most of the participants admitted they wouldn’t continue running in the future and never planned on running in a marathon again, but they will continue their training program as it makes them feel good.
But You Shouldn’t Give Up On Trying To Run In A Marathon
Even though participants admitted that they enjoyed the training program over running in the marathon doesn’t mean they regret the marathon. Many of them, even the ones who didn’t like running and don’t want to run in another marathon, stated that they felt the experience helped them keep track of what they put in their bodies and their exercise routine better. Because they had the primary goal, they decided to push through the exercise schedule.
Furthermore, some participants stated that they wouldn’t work as hard or be as motivated without the marathon. They feel that everyone should plan to run in a marathon at least once in their life.
One of the most prominent forms of exercise that many people don’t focus on is cardio exercise, such as walking and running. Cardio exercise is essential because it improves the health of your heart. When you have a healthy heart, your other organs are healthier, and you will feel better overall.
Because running and the training that you often follow when you are taking part in a marathon focus on cardio exercises, you get to feel these benefits. This is another reason why the study showed that swelling in your aorta goes down. By focusing on improving the health of your heart through cardio exercise, you receive dozens of health benefits that are proven by the studies.
Even though the study included researchers that helped people focus on specific guidelines, and some received professional training advice, you don’t need this to get yourself started on a training program. In fact, the researchers state that all you need to do is follow federal activity physical guidelines when you are exercising. This means that you will work out for at least 150 minutes every week, which basically boils down to 30 minutes every day.
Of course, you can also exercise an hour one day and take the next day off or do less than you usually would. Let’s face it; sometimes, after a busy day, we are simply too tired to exercise. Don’t feel wrong about your bad days; just work on following the federal guidelines.
One of the downsides about exercise is that people don’t feel like it’s fun. When you start to feel like you are going to work instead of trying to get healthier or having fun, you are less likely to continue with your exercise schedule. Instead of riding a bike for 30 minutes, you won’t feel motivated and tell yourself that you can skip today if you work harder tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this will cause you to continue pushing back your exercise. Eventually, you will stop exercising entirely and pick up your bad habits again. Making exercise fun depends on you. For instance, you might decide to listen to music, light some candles, or stop and dance randomly.
Researchers Focused On The Study To Help The Inactivity Pandemic
One of the reasons the researchers decided to focus on this study is because they wanted to influence people to start a weekly activity schedule. One of the researchers on the study stated, “There’s a growing body of scientific evidence highlighting the benefits of regular exercise, yet we have a physical inactivity pandemic in the United States.”
People are more likely to sit on their bed or couch and look at their phones, play video games, watch movies, or skim the Internet on their laptops. The problem is that this leads people to pick up bad habits and an unhealthy lifestyle. Slowly, their health deteriorates, and they start to suffer from health diseases.
Harvard Medical School Wants To Help You By Providing Tips
One of the highest respected medical schools in the country, Harvard Medical School, wants to do what they can to help you become healthier. Therefore, they released several tips that they ask you to focus on as you start your training. First, they want you to start slowly and increase your activity level gradually.
Second, they want you to dress appropriately when it comes to exercising outdoors. For instance, when you decide to go for a walk in weather that is close to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to dress for it. While you don’t need a large coat if you are running, you should for a walk. You also need a winter hat and gloves.
Harvard Medical School also knows that you might find something isn’t right with your body once you start exercising. Therefore, they want you to pay class attention to how you feel when you begin your exercise program. This doesn’t just mean that while you are exercising. You need to pay attention the next morning, during the night, and throughout your day.
If you start to feel your joints hurting, stop exercising as much for a while because your joints might feel overused. You should also contact your doctor to ensure that there is nothing else wrong. If you aren’t feeling well one day, take the day off. Don’t force yourself when you are sick or too tired, as this will cause you to feel worse.
Another factor that the researchers warn you about with the conclusion of the study is that you don’t want to become too comfortable. What they mean is, you need to continue to push yourself, but you can’t push yourself too hard.
For instance, if you are running ¼ of a mile for two months, try to go a ½ of a mile. You can also try to run twice instead of just once during the day. If you become too comfortable and don’t continue to push yourself, your body will start to decline health-wise at a quicker pace.
Don’t Push Harder As You Get Closer To The Finish Line
One of the best pieces of advice that people who took part in the study share is that when you are running in the marathon, you don’t want to sprint in the last few seconds. Like you handle your training, you want to go slow and steady. There are times you might run a bit faster for a few seconds, but you should never do this too long because you can find yourself tired quickly.
When you start the race by sprinting, you will become tired quicker. When you end the race by running, you risk health problems because you are dehydrated by this point. It is best to keep a steady pace.
Pay Attention To Your Heart Rate Throughout The Process
If you have ever seen people run for a long time, you might catch them, placing two fingers on their neck or wrist. When they do this, they are checking on their heart rate to make sure it is beating as it should.
\While it will beat faster than usual, you do not want to find yourself with an irregular heart rate for an extended period as this is a sign that you are dehydrated, and your body can have an adverse reaction. You don’t want to become obsessed and take your heart rate every minute, but you do want to check it, especially if you don’t feel well.
Training and running in a marathon is not easy. Sticking to an exercise schedule, unless it is something you really love, is not easy. Whether you find yourself struggling with this new part of your life or not, you always need to take a step back and be proud of yourself.
When you complete your first day, congratulate yourself. When you complete your first week, give yourself a little reward. When you complete a part of your goal, reward yourself. Find healthy rewards and always look at how well you did at the end of the day. Even on your bad days, be proud of doing your best.
Where did we find this? Here are Our Sources:
“Blood Pressure Readings Explained.” Judith Marcin, Healthline. January 2018.
“Want to Turn Back the Aging Clock? Train for a Marathon.” David Thompson, U.S. News. January 2020.
“Ready For Your First Marathon? Training Can Cut Years Off Your Cardiovascular Age.” Allison Aubrey, NPR. January 2020
“Hey New Runners, Marathon Training May “Reverse” Aging (So Lace Up).” Ray Bass, Mind Body Green. January 2020.