ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2012) — A study of marathon participants older than 50 years of age has found similar temporary effects as those found in runners between 18 and 40 years of age. Any cardiac abnormalities during a marathon disappear within a week after completing a race.
“There was no evidence of permanent heart damage from repeated marathon running in individuals over the age of 50,” says primary study author Davinder Jassal, associate professor of medicine, radiology and physiology in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba and principal investigator at St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre.
Jassal and his team of researchers used blood tests, echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), CT, and MRI to test healthy
volunteers who participated in the 2010 and 2011 Manitoba Full Marathons. They found that elite elderly marathoners over the age of 50 had a transient increase in blood markers and temporary swelling and weakness of the right side of the heart immediately following the 26.2 mile marathon. The good news is that all of the changes returned to normal one week later.
With an aging population of Canadians, the proportion of individuals older than 50 years of age participating in regular physical activity continues to grow. Twice as many older individuals have been participating in marathons during the past two decades.