Does running shorten your life? This topic really GRINDS MY GEARS! Don't fall for this BS you may have read/heard. Here is what you really need to know.
Can Excessive Running Or Doing Too Much Endurance Exercise Shorten Your Lifespan?
Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite. Do you know what really grinds my gears? People who don't put shopping carts back, the word fussy and hippopotamus, and when the media finds the latest and greatest scientific research on exercise, health, and nutrition, spins it in such a way where it doesn't present all the facts, just to sensationalize it and make people scared. And that's what we're gonna talk about today. Now this isn't a new topic, but the topic is running too much or doing endurance exercise cardio too much can shorten your life span.
What's The Basis Behind Running Shortening Lifespan?
Now this whole topic was brought about by a very prominent researcher, I'm not gonna name his name, cause I don't wanna get sued, and here is what this researcher said. He said the heart pumps about five quarts of blood per minute at rest. Running, it can pump 35 to 40 quarts per minute. Running for miles on end can overtax the heart, or exercising cardiovascular-wise or biking, etc. Overtaxing the heart can cause heart fibers to tear. Torn fibers will lead to scar tissue, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, and a premature death.
Now you can see why people saw this and got really up in arms about it and they're probably telling, you know, "Running is bad for you. It's gonna kill you early. I mean, look at what this researcher said. It must be right if I saw it on the internet." But that's not really all the information you need to know about this. So it goes on to say...I'm just reading this article. It sounds logical, but this scientific researcher's reasoning and conclusion that running more than 20 miles per week could actually be bad for you were largely discounted by his contemporaries barring more solid scientific proof.
There Is No Hard Research Demonstrating Running May Shorten Lifespan
So this researcher that made all these claims didn't really cite a lot of hard evidence. It was just kind of his theory that was more taken as fact when it got out into the media. Some researchers even called it downright war mongering to make a statement like that. But here's where it gets a little tricky. None of these researchers said that this other researcher was wrong. I mean, there's been very prominent endurance athletes in their 20's and 30's who have, unfortunately, passed away, and it may been from intensive, excessive exercise. The research community agrees that there's basically a certain point of return where you go over this amount of exercise, like cardio or endurance exercise, and it'll have more adverse effects on your health.
The Copenhagen And Masters Running Studies
There's a study called the Copenhagen study that was run over 20 years that actually found this, and let's just look this up real quick. Copenhagen Heart Study is what it was called, included a 27-year jogging sub-study that analyzed data from roughly 2,000 runners between 1976 and 2003, and it promoted the idea of a U-shaped curve relating to time spent exercising and mortality. So a U-shaped curve is like this, point of best return, and then it declines after that.
They found that between one hour and two and a half hours a week, undertaken over two to three sessions, delivered the optimum benefits, especially when performed at a slow or average pace. Any more or less, and life span may decline. The researchers could not exactly say why. So there was a lot of flaws with this study, too, and that last point, though researchers could not exactly explain why, doesn't really make me believe, maybe just a little bit, that running or exercising too much led to the premature death. I mean, there's a ton of other things that can kill ya out there which we'll get to this in a point.
So the good news for us is even though some of these researchers in the headlines are saying running causes premature death or doing too much intensive, excessive endurance exercise leads to premature death, it's not really true because there's not a ton of evidence behind all these statements yet. We're not totally discounting it, but we just need to wait for more evidence to come out to find maybe what that threshold is.
And luckily for us, there's a study going on right now called the Masters Running Study, and you could actually take this online survey that kind of measures and looks at people's exercise habits, and then kind of tries to discount other things out of it like NSAID use, smoking, diet, things like that, to really narrow it down to see if a person's exercise habits can lead to premature death once they get beyond a certain point.
So really, there's a lot of main points here. One, again, the media likes to sensationalize stuff all over the place. Don't buy into it without getting 100 percent of the facts. And here's the really the three main take home points. I'm an endurance athlete at heart. I love to train hard. I love to compete. I'm not gonna stop doing endurance exercise if it takes two years off my life. I'm really not built like that. It's more about quantity...no, more about quality over quantity for me.
And then what's the other option? Are you gonna sit around on your ass all day and be lazy? I mean, then you'll die 10 years early. And really, the last point I've come to discover throughout my life that anything can really kill you early at the end of the day, whether it be disease, an accident, etc., etc., etc. You can eat the healthiest diet for years and die early. The point is anything can kill you. I would rather do what I enjoy and be good at it, even if it meant taking a couple years off my life.
So, that is all I have for today, my endurance friends. If you have a friend that says, "All that exercise is gonna kill you early," please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition, supplementation, and everything in between, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel, or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with us on Instaslam and the Facebook training and nutrition club page. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, say fast, and stay informed.