Admittedly I'm an experiment of one.
Started running at 36. Training hard by age 39. PRs at age 42 were 16:10 5k, 33:25 10k, 1:14 half and 2:40 mara. In my best years ran 70-80mpw.
Developed afib at age 48. Now I'm 72 and still running every day. Was on digoxin from age 48 to 71. Had at least one afib episode per month all the way through 2014. They were tough - no running for several days. Now on rythmol (propafenone) and no episodes for 1/2 year. Great new drug?
Would I change anything such as only slow jogging? Heck no!
Do I believe this study should apply to all people? Heck no!
At 72, though I've struggled with afib all these years, my quality of life is so superior to my sedentary peers. Because of all those years of developing and maintain my muscles and cardio systems I also enjoy mountain biking, backpacking and skiing.
Admittedly I'm an experiment of one.
I think an excellent study on this would be of former world class runners and the possible effects of years of hard training on their overall health, longevity, etc. Does running high mileage (90-100+ miles a week, much at high intensity, etc.) for several years to decades have a negative effect on long term health? I have seen some discussions on causations between years of hard training and some cancers and other health issues. You can look at runners such as:
Frank Shorter - no health issues I am aware of
Bill Rodgers - no health issues I am aware of
Steve Scott - had testicular cancer at age 38, cured, recently treated for prostate cancer
Ron Daws - If I recall correctly he died in his 50's of a heart aliment
Mark Conover - Hodgkins disease if I recall correctly, but a full recovery was made.
Jim Ryun - no health issues I am aware of
Greg Meyer - no health issues I am aware of
Marty Liquori - I recall he has some health issues as well. I am unsure of his status.
I think with a large enought sample size, the study could be very interesting and perhaps show if long term high intensity running has negative health benefits, positive ones, or both.
and Buddy Edelen-Cancer
After a lifetime of being a runner, 40 years anyway..
I think any real study would find that the only important factor in determining longevity and health issues is genetics.
I would think that the percentages would be very close to the populace in general.
It's not that people are running at older ages because running allowed it, but that they are running because they happen to be lucky enough that their genes are right.
"Conclusions of a 20 year study by researchers at Stanford
" Fries' team began tracking 538 runners over age 50, comparing them to a similar group of non-runners. The subjects, now in their 70s and 80s, have answered yearly questionnaires about their ability to perform everyday activities such as walking, dressing and grooming, getting out of a chair and gripping objects. The researchers have used national death records to learn which participants died, and why. Nineteen years into the study, 34 percent of the nonrunners had died, compared to only 15 percent of the runners. "
Relax people, its the Daily Mail not Nature or SI !!!!
BTW to the person who said that runners did not think about its health benefits back in the day....that's not true. One of the glories of being a pre-running-boom-runner (as I was) was the "our little secret" nature of the sport. We all knew about runners high and the various 'life to your years' health stuff, and smiled smugly to ourselves when we saw Joe Public. I will admit no one then cared about 'years to your life'. Unfortunately the secret was too good to remain so for ever......
"find what you love and let it kill you" - Bukowski
Although there's ten years difference in age, I started the same time as you w/ the same mileage, although your times were definitely better! At almost sixty-four, aside from some asthma, it's nice to know I can always throw a backpack on and head for a trail - which I do. I wouldn't trade those running years for anything - they sustained me in so many ways. Even though I run much, much less, I'll always try and pick it up when I'm feeling good.
NC Jeff wrote:
This article highlights some of the problems with the study:
If the "low mileage" group was doing other exercises, and the "high mileage" group was just running, then I'd expect the former to be healthier.
I know older runners who have horrible postures with serious balance problems. They refuse to do any exercise other than running, as if they believed that it would make them less "pure" as runners. They reap what they sow. People who do not take themselves too seriously as runners do not have this problem.
Precious Roy wrote:
Also, I have never seen a study with a scientifically significant set of "vigorous" runners.
One is on the way. A team at St. George's Hospital in SW London is doing a study into veteran athletes' hearts - mostly cyclists and athletes. It's not sponsored by a running nut - the doc has little background in the sport. They want to get baseline data on what is normal for people who have been working out hard for decades. In other words, what sort of arythmias, heart wall thickening and so on are "normal" for someone with decades of training, and is there any evidence of long term damage.
A whole lot of good local club runners and cyclists, from 35 up to 80ish, have been through a huge battery of tests. I signed up because it was a chance to get an even more thorough set of tests than I would have had after an actual heart attack, and was very happy to get a clean bill of health.
After the last session the doc told me there was no evidence yet that we should "be moderate" and cut our training. It will be interesting to see when it gets published.