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Excessive running tied to shorter life, study reports

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Obsessive exercising is a trait commonly seen in individuals with anorexia athletica - an unofficial term used to denote people who have disordered eating habits as well as an unhealthy preoccupation with exercise.

And while the negative benefits of too much exercise can include nutrient deficiencies, irregular periods in women and decreased bone density, now we may be able to add "shorter life" to that list.

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in Washington D.C. last week revealed that too much running, in particular, is linked to a shorter lifespan.

Moderation is best, as always

The research suggests that a moderate running regemin - about two to three hours of running per week - is best for overall health, as both excessive runners and non-runners may both live shorter lives than moderate runners.

Data on more than 3,800 men and women runners was collected for the study, and the researchers were able to rule out cardiac risk or use of medication as factors that might contribute to shorter lifespan.

The main takeaway

Individuals with anorexia athletica or tendencies toward excessive exercise may be at particular risk for health problems or shorter lives, especially if they're running dozens of miles each week but not getting proper nutrients in their diet.

So what's the "safe" amount of running? The answer isn't entirely clear, said study author Dr. Martin Matsumura, co-director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa.

"I certainly don't tell patients 'Don't run,'" he said. "[But] what we still don't understand is defining the optimal dose of running for health and longevity."

Source: Health Day

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