4

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Long Distance Running and Heart Disease

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 22, 2010 at 1:47 AM

When you are out driving and you see a totally "fit" individual who is obviously into running long distances, do you ever think that person is setting himself/herself up for a heart attack?

Dr Harris has a very informative piece regarding chronic long distance runners with excellent blood lipids, good heart rates, and low body fat yet had more calcified arterial plaque build up than the control group.

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2010/3/21/still-not-born-to-run.html

The runner's high I hear about may be a death sentence.

Do Paleo people know? Do/did you?

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 01, 2010
at 09:19 PM

Good point Melissa. Just because everyone in the 'athlete' category ran one marathon/year doesn't mean that they were similar enough in all other respects to group them together.

5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

(2475)

on March 22, 2010
at 08:09 PM

There was a popular Philly talk radio 'health' expert named Jim Corey who for years pushed a vegetarian diet, jogging, etc.. He dropped dead from heart failure in his 50s which I didn't take to be a coincidence.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:24 PM

I am sure the SAD diet doesn't help -- but we are simply not long distance athletes.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:23 PM

The San Bushman are thin but strong. The skinny-fat body is completely different.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:21 PM

@Dexter Exactly. Lesson learned (not a joke): chronic jogging will kill you.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:20 PM

@Louisa -- "Fitness is not Health. Fitness is a functional definition of physical performance. Some aspects of fitness contribute to health and maybe longevity, others do not." See here: http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/12/26/exercise-in-the-panu-scheme.html

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 22, 2010
at 03:50 PM

A friend of mine from my graduate work, his father died on his front lawn at the end of a run. Same story.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 22, 2010
at 03:05 PM

And probably these deaths were seen as the exception rather than the rule by their neighbors. "How could it happen to Joe down the street? He looked so healthy and fit."

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 02:12 PM

yeah, this clip is from David Attenborough's Life of Mammals, last episode, I saw it the other day, absolutely amazing and interesting to see that out of choice the bushmen wear running shoes, when we are all going back to barefoot.....

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 02:09 PM

I think the San bushman look skinny too - what distinguishes their look from the SAD eaters 'skinny fat' look, exactly? Many of my endurance friends have amazing physiques, but then I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 01:55 PM

yeah, I saw this on David Attenborough's 'The Life of Mammals' recently too, amazing!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 22, 2010
at 01:01 PM

"As a child, a neighbor's father died from a heart-attack after jogging." Yeah, that happened to my childhood friend's father too.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on March 22, 2010
at 12:53 PM

Well, extreme long distance athletes are known to ingest tons of carbs and crap food like gels during their events. Maybe it's not just the distance, but maybe combined with bad diet.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on March 22, 2010
at 12:53 PM

Well, extreme long distance athletes are known to ingest tons of carbs and crap food liek gels during their events. Maybe it's not just the distance, but maybe combined with bad diet.

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5 Answers

8
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 22, 2010
at 01:13 PM

Perhaps we need to distinguish running from runners. Most runners are basically SAD eaters who burn off the calories so they aren't overtly obese, but that crap food still affects them. To me the lesson is that you can't burn away excessive PUFA, the pathogenic effects of grains and sugars, and poor nutrition in general.

Most endurance runners are the epitomy of skinny fats. They are skinny, but skinny in a rather unattractive way which reveals the nutritional deficient underneath.

The San bushman persistence hunting and the Tarahumara in Born To Run don't have these problems.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 02:09 PM

I think the San bushman look skinny too - what distinguishes their look from the SAD eaters 'skinny fat' look, exactly? Many of my endurance friends have amazing physiques, but then I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:23 PM

The San Bushman are thin but strong. The skinny-fat body is completely different.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on November 01, 2010
at 09:19 PM

Good point Melissa. Just because everyone in the 'athlete' category ran one marathon/year doesn't mean that they were similar enough in all other respects to group them together.

3
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 03:29 AM

Art De Vany has long sounded the alarm on this.

And my personal experience rings true as well. As a child, a neighbor's father died from a heart-attack after jogging. He had the classic, "skinny-fat", muscle-less jogger body and never appeared to actually enjoy his jogging.

The word around the neighborhood went around, "But how could that be? He was so fit and was always jogging".

I sincerely believe jogging assisted in bringing this poor man to an early end.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 22, 2010
at 01:01 PM

"As a child, a neighbor's father died from a heart-attack after jogging." Yeah, that happened to my childhood friend's father too.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 22, 2010
at 03:50 PM

A friend of mine from my graduate work, his father died on his front lawn at the end of a run. Same story.

5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

(2475)

on March 22, 2010
at 08:09 PM

There was a popular Philly talk radio 'health' expert named Jim Corey who for years pushed a vegetarian diet, jogging, etc.. He dropped dead from heart failure in his 50s which I didn't take to be a coincidence.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:21 PM

@Dexter Exactly. Lesson learned (not a joke): chronic jogging will kill you.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 22, 2010
at 03:05 PM

And probably these deaths were seen as the exception rather than the rule by their neighbors. "How could it happen to Joe down the street? He looked so healthy and fit."

2
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 22, 2010
at 12:02 PM

Louisa, We do know that the Ethiopians dominate the long distance events in the Olympics and in the Marathons that are run in the US. I would suspose they are predisposed to long distance running due to their evolutionary background.

Look at this video of a tribesman of the Kalahari Desert tracking down a Kudu and literally chases after it for 8 hours until it surrenders out of sheer exhaustion. http://www.neatorama.com/2009/05/08/the-persistence-hunt/

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 02:12 PM

yeah, this clip is from David Attenborough's Life of Mammals, last episode, I saw it the other day, absolutely amazing and interesting to see that out of choice the bushmen wear running shoes, when we are all going back to barefoot.....

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 01:55 PM

yeah, I saw this on David Attenborough's 'The Life of Mammals' recently too, amazing!

2
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on March 22, 2010
at 03:16 AM

I got a whiff of this from Mark Sisson when he was first interviewed in a cycling 'zine, The Rivendell Reader:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/mark-sisson-interview-rivendell-reader/

You can follow the links to a PDF of the whole article. In that, Sisson names off a good handful of cardiac damaged elite endurance athletes. These runners/triathletes/cyclists have years of sugar-burning behind them as well. But chronic cardio is associated with heart/vasculature issues and I think more will come to light.

I've shaped my activity to mimic our paleolithic past, trying to avoid blind or pointless re-enactment. So that means lifting heavy stuff, climbing/gymnastic motions, compound movements, sprinting, naps, leisure, competitive fun, some long slow walks or bike rides that avoid upper level "training" heart rates, fasting, etc.

My heart rate monitor is useful to be certain I stay UNDER 70% of my max heart rate during longer hikes/walks/rides! I certainly wince when I see the runners and riders out to pre-maturely age themselves and compromising longevity.....tsk tsk.

1
33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 22, 2010
at 10:11 AM

I certainly did not know this, Dexter! I know many vegetarians and SAD eaters who are long distance runners/swimmers/cyclists and they are so healthy looking. It never even crossed my mind that these guys are 'over-doing' it, or that they are more susceptible to heart attacks - they are like, the epitome of 'fit'. They garner great respect amongst my friends and I often think about them working so hard to maintain their slim physiques. It came as quite a surprise to me when I first switched to paleo and my body started to look like theirs, but I ran not a mile.

I think that the indoctrination we are exposed to nowadays about saturated fat being bad, aerobic exercise being good is pretty much ingrained into almost all of our brains. Where have these ideas come from and how come they are so persuasive? As Mark Sisson says in the article you cite: "But it??s not a matter of being stupid. Unlike other animals, we have advertisements and testimonials and hype to deal with, and our tendency is to believe, not to doubt, so we are more susceptible." There certainly is pressure to get out there and do it, absolutely - thankfully, I enjoy walking more than long-distance running and have always preferred 'all-round' exercise like gardening, housekeeping and looking after small children, which involves nearly all of the motions Tim describes (esp. the naps).

Since reading your quote on Tim's question yesterday, about the Greek runner Pheidippides, I have been feeling less guilty that I am not out running every evening like I see so many of my friends doing. I still think I must be labelled as 'lazy' by my friends though - perhaps all this has something to do with some kind of work ethic we are supposed to be subscribing to?

A question I would like to ask is: some races must be more predisposed to long distance running than others, like Ethiopians such as Haile Gebre Selassie for example, do you think this is the case?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 22, 2010
at 05:20 PM

@Louisa -- "Fitness is not Health. Fitness is a functional definition of physical performance. Some aspects of fitness contribute to health and maybe longevity, others do not." See here: http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/12/26/exercise-in-the-panu-scheme.html

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