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Extreme Endurance Cardio May Do More Harm than Good

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  • Extreme endurance cardio, such as marathon running, actually damages your heart, and can negate the health benefits you’d otherwise reap from a regular fitness program. Research has shown that once you reach 40-50 minutes of vigorous exercise per day, the benefits from your efforts plateau, and further efforts do not convey further improvements in life expectancy
  • Extended extreme cardio sets in motion inflammatory mechanisms that damage your heart. So while your heart is indeed designed to work very hard, and will be strengthened from doing so, it’s only designed to do so intermittently, and for short periods—not for an hour or more at a time
  • Veteran endurance athletes have a five-fold increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a dangerous irregular heart rhythm. Worse yet, some endurance athletes also present ventricular tachycardia, which can lead to ventricular fibrillation—a leading cause of sudden cardiac death
  • To optimize the health benefits from running, you’ll want to run 5-20 miles per week—the ideal amount being 10-15 miles per week. Once you reach 25 miles or more per week, the benefits actually disappear. Running too fast (faster than 8 miles per hour) or more than five times per week also negates the health benefits of running
  • The best survival rates among runners are in those who run at a slow to average pace for a total of 1 to 2.5 hours per week, divided between two to three runs per week

By Dr. Mercola

In the TED talk above, Dr. James O'Keefe, a research cardiologist and a former elite athlete, discusses an important point that can be difficult for some to accept, namely the fact that extreme cardio can actually do more harm than good...


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