Too Much Running Could Actually Kill You Sooner

Training to run a marathon has got to be one of the healthiest things you can do, right? Maybe not: A new study found that “moderate” runners lived longer than people who don’t exercise at all—and people who run lots of miles, HealthDay reports.

The study involved 3,800 runners who supplied info on their heart risk factors and their use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen; almost 70% of the group clocked more than 20 miles a week. The findings were presented Sunday, but have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. According to the results, how much should you run? One cardiologist who reviewed the data suggests you run no more than 2.5 hours per week, spread out between two or three sessions consisting of slow or moderately-paced running.

It’s not clear why too much running might be bad for longevity, but the study appears to rule out factors like prior cardiac risk (linked to things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history, and smoking) or excessive use of NSAIDs (which have been linked to heart problems). One doctor who’s also a running coach tells NBC San Diego that extreme exercise can actually “cause some scarring of the heart.” And another recent study found that male marathon runners had more plaque in their coronary arteries—which can lead to a heart attack—than non-runners, Pioneer Press reports.

Again, it’s not clear why, but one researcher notes, “It is plausible, not proof by any stretch, that metabolic changes when running could be moderately toxic to arteries.” (Another way to live longer: eat nuts?)

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Photo credit: Flickr, sophiea


Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Walking is good! Running, hurts knees.

june t.
reft h3 years ago

my friend developed osteoarthritis in her feet from running marathons and now has constant pain in her feet. Her experience alone was enough to turn me to walking.

Margaret P.
Margaret P.3 years ago

I guess it is not that clear why running might be bad for longevity but docs rule over prior cardiac risk but they say that extreme exercise can actually cause some scarring of the heart. It is a fact we all know that runners can damage their back and knees very much. Most of the physiotherapists recommend stretchingfor runners as an inevitable task.

Anne K.
Anne K3 years ago

Thank you!

Jessica K.
Jessica K3 years ago

Not much of a runner, but the article make sense. Thanks.

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Carole H.
Carole H3 years ago

desire to run? none - that's ok then - thank you

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez3 years ago

I had a dream once. I got married in front of the community and then the groom ran off into the crowd of people and I ran after him but he disappeared among them and they were too many to push past. Running is not good for health or relationships apparently :O) Perhaps it was telling me to wait at the finish line....if he can survive, he's a keeper and he will be too tired to run ;O)

Brian de Castro
Brian de Castro3 years ago

I always thought a marathon was just too long of a distance to run, especially when you add in all the miles of training leading up to it. Maybe to try it once or twice as an achievement of endurance, but on a regular basis, the human body can only take so much. To what purpose, evolutionary-wise, would we ever need to run for 26 miles straight? After all, we're only human, not super-human.