Our friends at NHS.com recently published an article describing how training for a marathon may reverse the aging of blood vessels. Check out the full article here: https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/could-running-marathon-make-your-blood-vessels-younger/

Reversing the aging process may not be as complicated as we previously had thought. There is no magic trick necessary. No fountain of youth or

ridiculously expensive medical treatments. Something as simple as running and discipline may be reversing the aging process of blood vessels within both men and women.

The Daily Mirror reports that, “First-time marathon runners can ‘reverse aging’ on blood vessels by four years.”

A study was conducted in the UK that took 138 healthy adults with no real marathon experience or serious health issues and put them through a six-month training program to prepare for a famous 26-mile marathon in London. Researchers measured participants’ blood pressure and did a

heart scan to assess the stiffness and restrictions of all the patients’ blood vessels. Stiff arteries are linked to vascular health issues and high blood pressure, so finding a way to reverse this hardening can prevent many future health issues.

After these volunteers completed their training and marathon, the scan was conducted once again to see if any improvements could be noticed. The study concluded that marathon training showed decreased stiffness in the aortas of the tested patients. Those leading the study concluded that this training was the equivalent of up to a four-year decrease in the “biological age” of the blood vessel. The effects were much more noticeable in the volunteers that ran slower marathon times and the more elderly volunteers that had stiffer blood vessels at the start of the study.

Marathon training resulted in a small decrease in blood pressure, of about 3 to 4 mmHg. Training caused decreased stiffness of the “descending” aorta, where it extends down through the chest, but made little difference to the first section of the aorta where it leaves the heart.

The effect seemed to be greater in:

  • men
  • older people
  • those with a slower marathon running time

Although healthy physical activity can have major benefits to most individual’s vascular system and overall health, marathon training is not the only way to live a healthy and physical lifestyle. Physical activities such as cycling, swimming, hiking, competitive sports, or simply walking can also be excellent ways to stay healthy and improve vascular health. As always, Vascular Cures recommends consulting your personal health care physician before making any lifestyle changes, especially as it pertains to physical activity.