Most people say that running is the safest and easiest way to exercise and stay in shape or even trim down your weight. Some doctors even prescribe running to pregnant women at a slow pace. However, running may accelerate to a dangerous level if taken to the extreme and professional advice is not heeded.
According to the Live Strong website, running is a high-intensity aerobic activity that makes normal speech difficult or impossible and significantly elevates your heart rate. However, a heart rate of 182 beats per minute is high even for runners and exceeds common exercise guidelines. On May 23, 2012, New York Times published the death of ultramarathoner Micah on a solo wilderness trail run.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine conducted a recent study and gathered publicly available data on participation in and deaths during or immediately after every known marathon race in the United States from 2000 to 2009. What the researchers found was that, even as participation in marathon racing almost doubled during the past decade, to more than 473,000 finishers in 2009 from about 299,000 in 2000, the death rate remained unchanged, and vanishingly small. A total of 28 people died during or in the 24 hours immediately after a marathon, most of them men, and primarily from heart problems. Those numbers translate into less than one death per 100,000 racers.
Extreme exercise such as marathons may permanently damage the heart and trigger rhythm abnormalities, according researchers as published in the Daily Mail United Kingdom. They say the safe exercise for running is a maximum of an hour a day, after which there is little benefit to the individual. A review of research evidence by US physicians says intensive training schedules and extreme endurance competitions can cause long-term harm to people’s hearts. Prolonged physical endurance provides little benefit to the heart than what is desirable.