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J Sci Med Sport. 2014 May;17(3):322-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.04.018. Epub 2013 May 22.

Long-term ultra-marathon running and arterial compliance.

Author information

1
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Canada; Human Performance and Health Laboratory, University of PEI, Charlottetown, Canada.
2
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Canada; Experimental Medicine Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
3
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Canada.
4
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Canada; Experimental Medicine Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Electronic address: darrenwb@mail.ubc.ca.

Abstract

Recent reports that habitual marathon runners demonstrate higher levels of stiffness and cardiovascular risk factors have been of great interest to the medical and scientific community. Ultra-marathon running, that is any distance >42.2 km, is increasing in popularity; however, little is known regarding the physiological effects of the sport's unique training and racing practices on vascular health.

OBJECTIVES:

To characterize and compare the arterial compliance of male long-term (>5 years) ultra-marathoners with recreationally active controls, and examine the associations of training related practices with systemic arterial compliance.

DESIGN:

We employed a case-control comparison design using long-term habitual ultra-marathon runners (n=18) and an age matched cohort of normative recreationally active males.

METHODS:

Arterial compliance was measured at rest using radial applanation tonometry (CR-2000, HDI) for diastolic pulse contour analysis. Compliance was compared with normative data, participant characteristics, and associated exercise parameters.

RESULTS:

In representative ultra-endurance runners, large artery compliance of long-term participants was reduced compared with physically active age-matched controls (p=0.03) and is related to select training variables. Specifically, in a representative subset for whom we obtained detailed training data, decreased compliance was related to longer typical running distance per training session (r=-0.72, p=0.03); however, more broad definitions of frequency, intensity, and duration revealed no association for the runners as a whole.

CONCLUSIONS:

Given the known associations of arterial stiffness with future cardiovascular events, ultra-endurance runners may be at an increased risk of a cardiovascular event compared with their normally active counterparts.

KEYWORDS:

Applanation tonometry; Cardiovascular risk; Exercise; Health; Physiology; Vasculature

PMID:
23707138
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsams.2013.04.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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