More news today over on PāNu on the topic of chronic cardio. It references an presnentation given at the American College of Cardiology that shows that:
A group of elite long-distance runners had less body fat, better lipid profiles, and better heart rates than people being tested for cardiac disease, but, paradoxically, the runners had more calcified plaque in their heart arteries, according to a study reported here.
Investigators performed computed tomography angiography on 25 people who had run at least one marathon a year since 1985, according to senior author Robert Schwartz, MD, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Foundation. They compared the athletes with 23 control patients who were undergoing the same scan for symptomatic or suspected heart abnormalities.
In controls, the calcium plaque volume was 169 mm3compared with 274 mm3 for the elite runners (P=0.028), the researchers reported at the American College of Cardiology meeting. The runners also had a higher calcium score and higher noncalcified plaque volume, although those differences did not reach statistical significance.
I think we need to be careful about differentiating between integrating a reasonable level of low-level activity into our daily lives and chronic cardio. Walking the dog, spending a few hours in the hills, playing a round of golf, power walking are good for us. This is what the bulk of our activity should be. And if you live in the Northern Hemisphere like I do and it’s dark and wet for most of the year a little treadmill work (especially if it’s done intermittently) is I am sure good too. However, I’ve no doubt that marathon running and endurance cycling (if taken to extremes) will be harmful to your health eventually – more and more studies are starting to show this.