Monday, March 15, 2010
“According to new research, Greek doctors found that marathon runners have increased stiffness of the large arteries, suggesting that some types of high-intensity exercise may actually be bad for the heart, potentially leading to hardening of enlarged arteries, high blood pressure, heart attack and even death.” Yahoo!News
It’s about time the Greeks weighed in. Over the past two decades, I’ve put off serious marathon training in light of their deafening silence. Thanks to my prudence, I won’t need a baby sling for the giant stiff artery.
What saved me from the ravages of intense exercise? The little voice in my head; the little voice I once accused of self-indulgence. I now know it was the voice of self-preservation -- a voice that protested any run in excess of four miles. (Actually, the voice is pretty satisfied with two miles, or on a bad day, just a can of cocktail nuts.)
Clearly, the Greek doctors took their time on this one, as running has been popular for at least 40 years. In the interim, I of course was ready to take any measure that would lead to health and longevity -- 15, 20, 25 miles -- had it not been for the little voice, ever cautioning, “Calm down and eat your Snickers. Wait until we hear from Greece.”
Some people may question the validity of this study, as well as the fact that much of our information comes from Yahoo rather than the Economist these days. The fact that this particular news item mentions no hospital affiliation or even a single doctor’s name. Oh, blah, blah, blah. Go Wiki the research if you don’t believe Yahoo. Better yet, run your marathon. In five years, we’ll see who’s towing their veins around in a Radio Flyer.
As for me, tonight, I turn around at the two-mile mark. Thank you, says Mr. Heart. Thank you, says Mr. Blood pressure. Curses, foiled again, says Mr. Death.