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Working a Marathon Can Take Years Off Your Arteries’ Age

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Concentrating on fitness goals is an important step to prepare for success. If you want to "run better" or "do more cardio" this year, consider making a marathon one of your 2020 goals. Taking a 26.2-mile course doesn't just make you feel better than a few minutes after your workout. A new study also found that it can take years for your arteries to reach age.

We don't have to tell you that training for a marathon is not a joke, but a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 138 first-time marathon runners took part six months before the "Beginner's Training Plan" of the London Marathon There were some serious health benefits in the 2016 and 2017 races.

The researchers evaluated the trainees before and after their six-month training, and found that the training lowered participants' blood pressure and decreased artery stiffness – both important aspects of heart health. The arteries naturally become stiffer with age, but this rigidity increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Training for the marathon essentially reduced the age of the participants' blood vessels by four years, with older people experiencing major changes as the training progressed.

"Our study highlights the importance of lifestyle changes to slow down the risks associated with aging, especially since, as our older, slower runners show, it never seems to be too late," said senior author Charlotte H. Manisty , MD, in a press release. She also noted that signing up for a marathon or fun run can be a great way for beginners to be motivated to stick to an exercise program.

While this particular study only recruited healthy participants with no pre-existing heart disease, the researchers believe that people with high blood pressure and stiffer arteries may respond even better to cardio exercise.

"Our study shows that it is possible to reverse the effects of aging on our blood vessels through exercise in just six months," said Manisty. "These benefits have been seen in healthy people across a wide range of ages and their marathon times suggest accessible training for beginners."

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