Well here’s another post that’s merely to point you to someone else’s good work, but I just can’t pass it up. One of the great recent additions to the paleo blogosphere is Dr. Kurt Harris, also a reader and commenter here.
Here he really does his homework and puts a number of studies together — backed by his specific expertise in radiology — to demonstrate that, as he says:
Running a marathon is looking about as smart as boxing or playing football.
But here’s the bottom line, comparing 102 experienced, long-term marathoners with 102 age-matched sedentary folk.
Would you believe 12% of asymptomatic marathon runners had evidence of myocardial damage on LGE?
Would you believe that among the sedentary controls only 4% had abnormal LGE?
Go have a read at the whole post, which is quite comprehensive.
By the way, I — as everyone else back in the 80s — thought running was just a super healthy thing to do. From about ’82 into the late 80s I’d run from time-to-time, and at times, might do upwards of 15-20 miles in a week. Did some 10Ks, and did 10 milers a few times.
But other than running in the cold rain, which I did love doing, I always pretty much hated it. But, see, in a world that runs on guilt, shame, self-denial and sacrifice, this was proof positive that it just must be good for you, just like, y’know, taxes, regulations, fines, levies, restrictions and all manner of stuff you hate for yourself but see as good for everyone else. We seem to be susceptible to erecting all manner of "necessary evils" to tolerate and embrace "for our own good," depraved as we all are. So, running is like confession and penance.
Does it make sense that something most of us naturally hate to do would be particularly healthful? Wouldn’t the paleo Principle suggest that it’s more likely harmful? If most people hate trudging along, then it can’t possibly be something we evolved doing regularly or to great extent (brief running and sprinting, absolutely), which means that we’ve not particularly adapted to it, making it somewhat of a crapshoot to engage in the behavior.
It certainly was for the three unfortunate runners who all collapsed and died in the space of six minutes during the recent Detroit Marathon.