Two Cardiologists Advise: Just Do One Marathon

They say endurance sports can damage your body. Do you buy it?

In the past few years, scores of new research has emerged on how to stay optimally healthy. Most of the time, its message is (fairly) simple: Exercise more, sit less, sleep more, stress less, eat well. And, right along with the new research, a record-setting number of new marathoners are signing up around the country to battle through 26.2 miles.

But as more and more people are lacing up to pound the pavement, a growing number of specialists have begun to decry endurance sports—claiming that going over the top in your fitness regime could actually take years off of your life.

The latest: Two cardiologists from Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute. In the journal Heart, they write:

If you really want to do a marathon or full distance triathlon, etc., it may be best to do just one or a few and then proceed to safer and healthier exercise patterns.

A routine of moderate physical activity will add life to your years as well as years to your life. In contrast, running too far, too fast, and for too many years may speed one's progress to towards the finishing line of life.   

So, endurance athletes—chime in. Are you concerned for your health? Or are you convinced that exercise—in any form—will ultimately improve your life? Tell us in the comments.