Running marathon cuts years off ‘artery age’

Training for and completing a marathon improves the health of a new runner’s arteries, cutting about four years off their “vascular age”, a study suggests.

Researchers from Barts and University College London tested 138 novice runners attempting the London Marathon.

Over six months of training, their arteries regained some youthful elasticity, which should reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

And their blood pressure fell as much as if they had been prescribed pills.

Those who were the least fit beforehand appeared to benefit the most.

Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK said: “At Heart Research UK, we recommend and encourage everyone to incorporate more physical activity into their lives.

“Training for and running a marathon clearly has a wealth of health benefits, and raises millions of pound for charity each year, so if you are thinking of challenging yourself, give it a go!

“We also encourage people to find realistic and enjoyable ways to increase their physical activity levels. If training for a marathon is not your thing, there are other ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

“Try to identify opportunities throughout the day for physical activity, such as cycling to work or going for a brisk walk after lunch. You could also check out what is on offer at your local park or leisure centre.”

If you would like to take on a run for Heart Research UK, you can find out more about joining #TEAMHRUK for the London Marathon, Great North Run and the Great Manchester Run by contacting Rachel on 0113 234 7474 or emailing