Exercise and Your Heart

I read something once that said, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” I have to be honest, that one surprised me a bit. Growing up I was always told, as long as you exercise enough, you can pretty much eat what you want, within reason.

Recently, the director of the Boston Marathon, a runner that has run in 130 marathons and several Ironman distance triathalons, was diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Talk about a shock. How could someone in such good condition get coronary artery disease?

It turns out that while exercise will do wonders for your weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, it may fool you and your doctor into thinking your heart is healthier than it is. Particularly if you are eating a terrible diet.

As more studies come out, there is a growing body of research that running a large amount might (key word) actually damage your heart and arteries.

James O’Keefe, a Kansas City cardiologist and ex triathlete, believes that sustained endurance exercise can damage the heart and recommends no more than 20 miles per week at a modest pace.

To say that not all cardiologists are on board with this thinking is a slight understatement.

What everyone seems to be in agreement with is; as you get older, it is imperative that you continue to get your heart and arteries checked, especially if there is a history of heart disease in your family.


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