Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Strenuous runs may not be so bad for you after all

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Strenuous runs may not be so bad for you after all

Back at the start of February, there was a story doing the rounds in newspapers and on the web that a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology said that running too much may be as bad as not getting any type of exercise. The conclusion was that those who exercised at a steady pace for less than two and a half hours a week were the least likely to die in this time while those that ran for more than four hours a week or did no exercise had the highest death rates.

In a follow up story, the author of the study, clinical cardiologist Dr Peter Schnohr, has now admitted that the study doesn't actually prove this and that he didn't have the evidence to say that strenuous running is bad for you. He went on to say...."It shouldn't have been misunderstood. If you normally read papers you could say 'Ah! This is not good statistically - this is too thin."

In other words, the results of the study were not statistically significant.

In response, someone from the NHS in the UK said....."In today's world, research findings can rapidly be disseminated across the globe - particularly when they capture the public imagination due to a shocking finding. It's not realistic to assume that everyone who hears a headline will track down the research paper, read and critically appraise it before they decide to act or share it with their friends. That's why it is so important that research findings, their implications and limitations are communicated in a clear way right from the start."

Essentially, this was in reality a non-story to start with and the world's media just picked up on a headline which had no scientific basis behind it.

While no-one is suggesting that doing multiple marathons or very high mileage is good for your health, there is no proof that doing a moderate amount of exercise including speed work is harmful. As with all things, everything in moderation.

BBC podcast on the study HERE

Follow up news item from the BBC HERE

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