Recreational marathon training is associated with favorable myocardial adaptations in middle-aged men, according to a study published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Myocardial adaptations to exercise are well documented among competitive athletes, but the degree to which cardiac modeling occurs among recreational exercisers is not known, the researchers, led by Aaron L. Baggish, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, noted.
The study included 45 male runners (mean age 48 years) who participated in a structured marathon-training program. Of these, 64% had 1 or more cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers found that the recreational marathon training is associated with biventricular dilation and enhanced left ventricular diastolic function, as well as favorable changes in non-myocardial determinants of cardiovascular risk.
“Recreational marathon training may, therefore, serve as an effective strategy for decreasing incident cardiovascular disease,” the authors concluded.