In present-day Nigeria, there is a lot to think about. From rising economic costs, the burdens of running the day to day activities of life, bills to pay, among others, there is quite a lot bothering the mind of an average Nigerian. In the midst of it all, you find very few Nigerians who still pay attention to their cardiovascular health and exercises like running a marathon.
Regular road joggers are becoming rarer to see these days with many others not fully aware of the health benefits that come with running short and long distances. For example, did you know that by running a single marathon, you stand a chance of adding an extra four years to your life? How? The answer is not far-fetched.
A study was carried out involving a sample of 138 people running in the 2016 and 2017 London Marathons for the first time. In the 17 weeks prior to the actual marathon, the runners used in the study were admonished to take part in three runs every week. Their blood pressure was also tested along with the stiffness of their arteries.
Less than three weeks after the marathon race, the same tests were carried out on the participants and it was discovered that there was a marked reduction in their blood pressure and aortic stiffness (stiffness of artery).
According to Dr. Charlotte H. Manisty from the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at the University College London (UCL), who is also the senior author of the study, it proved that six months of consistent exercise (marathons inclusive) could alter the aging of blood vessels.
She explained that the achievement recorded in the sample taken from those that ran in the marathon is indicative of the fact that age reversal is inevitable with such sport engagement.
While more studies would need to be carried out to examine for sure if hypertensive patients and those with higher arterial stiffness can also gain from periodic marathon running even as first-timers, this initial study, Manisty said, proved the theory right.
In all, Dr. Manisty said that it all boiled down to choosing a healthy lifestyle. She acknowledged that other factors like good dieting, sleeping patterns among others, could have complemented running in a marathon and achieving the outlined gain. To this, she stated that, indeed, more research would need to be carried out.
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