When you see marathon runners desperately trying to stay the course and looking sickly — like they’re about to pass out, or even die, from physical overexertion — it’s because they are…
In fact, according to the latest research, highly active men — like those who run marathons — are more likely to develop a deadly symptom of heart disease compared to less-active men.
In this large, new study, researchers attempted to put a positive spin on the findings. But as any Biology 101 student could tell you, having this risk factor doesn’t bode well for your longevity.
Fitness craze obscures common sense
I’ve been questioning the benefits of excessive exercise (or as I like to call it, “excess-ercise”) since my health classes in high school, college life sciences courses, and throughout my graduate doctoral degree programs.
Of course, this was in the 1970s, at the starting line of the “fitness” craze.
By this point in time, most Americans had already transitioned from working hard, physical labor on farms and factories to more sedentary “desk jobs.” But there were still plenty of middle-aged and older folks around who had worked labor-intensive jobs most of their lives. And they had no interest in subjecting their bodies to more physical abuse. They could only shake their heads at this voluntary, excess exercise insanity.
My grandfather’s second wife (from Italy), who lived on the old family farm in western Pennsylvania, used to wonder about her sons. They’d disappear into the coal cellar for hours at a time to “work out” with a free weight set.
She would pantomime their workout — raising her arms, with a grimace on her face, and grunt (melodiously in Italian).
I could never quite figure it out either, as both boys had physically demanding day jobs — one still worked on the farm and the other commuted 50 miles to work in the U.S. Steel Mill in Homestead, PA.
Of course, the fitness craze of the 1970s has morphed into ridiculous, aggressive, and grueling workouts in dark, dank gyms. And in response, whole new industries have popped up, selling overpriced shoes, apparel, and equipment — as well as noxious “sports” drinks and fake foods.
As for me, U.S. Air Force Academy basic training (which was the equivalent of the 8-week U.S. Marine Corps boot camp) whipped me into shape during the war in Southeast Asia.
I could run a mile in 7 minutes flat — at 7,000-foot altitudes, with full uniform, backpack, and rifle. But it still seemed to me that overexertion stresses the body too hard, for too long — plain and simple.
We know now overexertion raises blood pressure for prolonged periods of time. It strains the lungs. It wears down the muscles and joints. It can even lead to the breakdown of exhausted muscle tissues, releasing byproducts that must be filtered out of the blood by the kidney. And stressing the kidneys in this way can lead to kidney failure.
So, it was no wonder to me that the ultra-fit, long distance runner and fitness guru Jim Fixx suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack in 1984…at the tender age of 52. Getting way too much of a “good” thing is indeed, not a good thing. (In Chinese medicine, this is commonly recognized as “taxation fatigue.”)
And I had no doubt that western science would eventually catch up…
Science catches up to common sense
In recent years, study after study has shown that excessive exercise, such as marathon running, leads to long-term heart damage and joint disease. It can also damage the GI tract, the kidneys, and other organs.
This new study zeros in specifically on coronary artery calcification (CAC) — a deadly risk factor for heart disease.
CAC happens when high blood pressure, caused by prolonged periods of overexertion, damages the blood vessels — including the coronary arteries that supply the heart.
The body attempts to fix the damaged blood vessels by making repair tissue using cholesterol. (By the way, blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming the EMTs who respond to the scene, for causing the accident.)
This repair tissue is essentially like a “scar” in the artery that can then calcify — which is a highly accurate, commonly used measure of the extent of coronary artery heart disease!
Excessive exercise leads to calcified arteries — no two ways about it
For the new study, researchers followed almost 22,000 men (with an average age of 52), with different degrees of physical activity, from 1988 to 2013.
They found that highly active men, such as marathon runners, had an 11 percent greater risk of developing coronary artery disease compared to men who were less active.
But then, the researchers tried to say the degree of coronary artery calcification these men developed somehow wasn’t associated with higher death rates.
But they can’t have their cake and eat it too…
Either we need to throw out scores of previous studies that found coronary artery heart disease with calcification does increase the risk of death…or we need to accept their results at face value.
You know what I say…
Go with the science!
And all the previous studies — as well as all the clinical guidelines for measuring and managing heart disease — tell us that coronary artery disease calcification increases mortality risk, despite the researchers’ mealy-mouthed explanations.
So, it’s very likely that the coronary artery disease found in the highly active men in this study will cause higher death rates. (The study wasn’t actually long enough to follow death rates, so they can’t really know anyway!)
Remember, nobody is saying that moderate exercise isn’t good for the heart — it is! In fact, the science tells us that getting about 2.5 hours per week (not per day) has plenty of physical and mental benefits. And it lowers your mortality risk.
But that weekly amount is a far cry from running 26-mile marathons or going for a “daily run,” come hell or high water.
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to foresee the dangers of excessive exercise
Honestly, I don’t really ever get tired of being right. But it is tiresome waiting years and years for the conventional crowd to catch up…
We have the science on the dangers of excessive exercise. And the taxpayers foot the bill for tens of billions in medical research each year.
But instead of following the science, government health “experts” (who never get out of their offices in Washington, D.C.) continue to spew political agendas to control people. Big pharma tries to obscure the science to boost profits instead of heal patients. And the news media hides it under duplicitous headlines.
I learned all their tricks — and uncover them each week in my Daily Dispatch and each month in my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (Not a member? No worries. Click here to learn more, or sign up today!)
In the end, the science confirms mom’s common-sense adage of moderation in all things. Including alcohol, smoking, foods, and exercise too.
And if you really want to reduce your risk of suffering a cardiovascular event…skip the marathons. Instead, follow this simple rule of thumb that I told you about earlier this month.
You can learn all about the other natural approaches for preventing and reversing heart disease (without risky prescription heart medications or surgeries) in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. Click here to enroll or learn more today.
“Association of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality With High Levels of Physical Activity and Concurrent Coronary Artery Calcification.” JAMA Cardiology, 2019;4(2):174-181. https://doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.4628