Abstract

Background

Aging increases aortic stiffness, contributing to cardiovascular risk even in healthy individuals. Aortic stiffness is reduced through supervised training programs, but these are not easily generalizable.

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to determine whether real-world exercise training for a first-time marathon can reverse age-related aortic stiffening.

Methods

Untrained healthy individuals underwent 6 months of training for the London Marathon. Assessment pre-training and 2 weeks post-marathon included central (aortic) blood pressure and aortic stiffness using cardiovascular magnetic resonance distensibility. Biological “aortic age” was calculated from the baseline chronological age-stiffness relationship. Change in stiffness was assessed at the ascending (Ao-A) and descending aorta at the pulmonary artery bifurcation (Ao-P) and diaphragm (Ao-D). Data are mean changes (95% confidence intervals [CIs]).

Results

A total of 138 first-time marathon completers (age 21 to 69 years, 49% male) were assessed, with an estimated training schedule of 6 to 13 miles/week. At baseline, a decade of chronological aging correlated with a decrease in Ao-A, Ao-P, and Ao-D distensibility by 2.3, 1.9, and 3.1 × 10−3 mm Hg−1, respectively (p < 0.05 for all). Training decreased systolic and diastolic central (aortic) blood pressure by 4 mm Hg (95% CI: 2.8 to 5.5 mm Hg) and 3 mm Hg (95% CI: 1.6 to 3.5 mm Hg). Descending aortic distensibility increased (Ao-P: 9%; p = 0.009; Ao-D: 16%; p = 0.002), while remaining unchanged in the Ao-A. These translated to a reduction in “aortic age” by 3.9 years (95% CI: 1.1 to 7.6 years) and 4.0 years (95% CI: 1.7 to 8.0 years) (Ao-P and Ao-D, respectively). Benefit was greater in older, male participants with slower running times (p < 0.05 for all).

Conclusions

Training for and completing a marathon even at relatively low exercise intensity reduces central blood pressure and aortic stiffness—equivalent to a ∼4-year reduction in vascular age. Greater rejuvenation was observed in older, slower individuals.

 

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S073510971938369X?via%253Dihub

Despite the volume of scientific articles and books written about running technique, the problem of how to run, and how to teach running technique, has still not been satisfactorily addressed. This tremendous output of information and opinion remains a disjointed, even eclectic, amalgam of anecdotal observation and experience, devoid of any integral unifying concept.

As a result, the teaching process of running is something of a foster child, a process wholly dependent on the individual coach’s insights, preferences and competence. Without an underlying, developed and accepted school of thought as to what constitutes proper running technique, what is taught by any given coach or instructor is pretty much the subject of personal whim.

This book is my attempt to fill this gap and present an integrated and uniform approach to running technique that can be systematically taught by instructors and coaches around the world. The concepts that form the basis of the Pose Method of Running derive not only from scientific principles, but also from observation, intuition and more than 20 years of working with runners at all ability levels.

I proceeded from the simple assumption that running, like any other human movement, must have a “best way” to be done. To find that “best way”, I observed both humans and animals in their running and tried to identify the scientific principles at work in the matter of forward locomotion.

Having identified those principles, I then attempted to develop a system of human movement that would derive the maximum benefit from forces that exist in nature. It was my belief that this movement, while accomplishing essentially mechanical tasks, would be as artistic and refined as the movements that characterize ice-skating, ballet or gymnastics.

To my mind, this search for a “best way” to run was an urgent calling. If, in fact, I could design a curriculum that would allow individuals to run injury free, with better performance and, most importantly, more pleasure in their pursuit, I would have done a service to countless athletes.

Thus, I present this book as a system that will benefit both runners and their coaches. It is based on the combination of scientific reasoning and simple common sense. As such, the proof of the system will not come from strict scientific data, but the success of its repeated application over and over again.

As with other sports that one attempts to learn from a book, an individual’s success in acquiring the benefits of the Pose Method of Running will rest not only on his understanding of the principles and his dedication to learning the system, but also in his or her willingness and ability to seek outside support in the endeavor.

While it is possible to learn the Pose Method by studying this book on your own, it is always better to have outside assistance. Whether it is simply a training partner or a qualified coach, having a second set of eyes to observe your technique and help you along the way will prove an invaluable asset and greatly reduce the time it takes you to adopt this new style of running.

As with any other approach to perfecting sporting endeavors, the Pose Method of Running remains very much a work in progress. As a scientist, a coach, and an author, I am always anxious to hear from anyone concerning their experiences with the Pose Method.

By sharing our knowledge and further refining this technique, I believe we can build an ever-larger community of happy, healthy and satisfied runners around the world. Your thoughts and insights could well become invaluable components of the next edition of this book, to be shared with runners of all ages and nationalities.