(Fox News) – In our culture, marathon runners and triathletes are often seen as the picture of perfect health and physical stamina. But before you add a marathon to your bucket list, it behooves you to know that pushing through pain to achieve feats of endurance can be risky, even for those of you who are in good health. The latest research on the topic has stopped many long-distance cardio fiends in their tracks, and it may mean you never look at that treadmill in the same way again.
In recent years, overwhelming evidence has emerged to prove that endurance exercise can have dire health consequences.
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, male endurance athletes who trained the longest and hardest for races showed significant muscle scarring. In the most extreme cases, scarring of heart muscle can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
That same year, a study published in the European Heart Journal revealed that practiced endurance athletes suffered from diminished heart function and had increased cardiac enzymes in their blood (markers for heart injury) after a race. And the longer the race, the greater the decrease in their heart function.