Research Article

Cardiovascular effects of training for a marathon run in unfit middle aged men.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.295.6597.521 (Published 29 August 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:521
  1. I N Findlay,
  2. R S Taylor,
  3. H J Dargie,
  4. S Grant,
  5. A R Pettigrew,
  6. J T Wilson,
  7. T Aitchison,
  8. J G Cleland,
  9. A T Elliott,
  10. B M Fisher
  1. Department of Cardiology, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

    Abstract

    The effects of a 30 week exercise programme on serum lipid values, blood pressure, and cardiac function were assessed in a group of sedentary men aged 35-50 training for their first marathon. Mean serum cholesterol concentration (n = 33) fell by 12% from 6.54 (SE 0.18) to 5.76 (0.15) mmol/l (mean fall 0.78 mmol/l; 95% confidence interval 0.52 to 1.04 mmol/l), serum triglyceride concentration (n = 33) by 22% from 1.56 (0.17) to 1.21 (0.09) mmol/l (mean fall 0.34 mmol/l; 95% confidence interval 0.12 to 0.56 mmol/l), and mean blood pressure (n = 27) by 10% from 102 (2) to 92 (2) mm Hg (mean fall 10 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval 7 to 13 mm Hg). These changes were not explained by changes in body composition. Peak exercise left ventricular end diastolic volume (n = 16) increased with training; as a result of this and an increased exercise left ventricular ejection fraction peak exercise cardiac output increased from 19.9 (1.2) to 23.1 (3.0) l/min (mean rise 3.2 l/min; 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 5.0 l/min). Maximum oxygen consumption increased from 33.9 (1.6) to 39.0 (1.3) ml/kg/min (mean rise 5.0 ml/kg/min; 95% confidence interval 1.8 to 8.2 ml/kg/min). This study showed favourable effects on coronary risk factors and cardiac function and supports the place of regular exercise in coronary prevention programmes.