“Exercise: Marathoners Increase Artery Plaque Risk”
We have had the importance of exercise pounded into our heads for decades. One would assume that extremes of exercise, such as those seen with marathoners, would be especially good for one’s overall health and for increased longevity. Please remember that it is widely held among the general population and even among health professionals that moderate exercise is a healthy practice but long term high intensity exercise is not. To date, longevity studies of elite athletes have been relatively sparse and the results are confusing and conflicted. Actually, studies have been inconsistent but two of these studies did indicate advantages to strenuous exercise training. In 2011, the International Journal of Sports Medicine found a very significant increase in average longevity (17%) of Tour de France cyclists when compared with the general population. The age at which 50% of the general population died was 73.5 vs. 81.5 years in Tour de France participants. Their major finding was that repeated very intense exercise prolongs life span in well trained practitioners.