Science

This study shows the scary effect running a marathon can have on your body

It looks like it could cause temporary kidney damage.

No-one is under any illusion that running a marathon is an easy feat: long distance runners ache for days after completing the 26 miles, and that’s putting it mildly.

However, a new study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases has found that running a marathon has a much bigger impact on your body than just sore muscles and joints.

Marathon running
(Martin Rickett/PA)

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have been looking into the effect that running marathons has on your kidneys. Out of the 22 marathon runners they studied (with a mean age of 44 and 41% men), 82% developed “an increase in creatine level equivalent to AKIN-defined AKI stages 1 and 2. 73% had microscopy diagnoses of tubular injury.”

Okay, now that we’ve got that science jargon out of the way, what does it actually mean? It essentially looks like after a marathon the runners look similar to patients with acute kidney damage.

Marathon
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Life Hacker says “this doesn’t mean the marathoner’s kidney’s were permanently damaged, just that the activity affected their function in the same way”.

A huge part of this temporary damage stems from the dehydration that runners experience, and also the fact that less blood is pumped to their kidneys.

However, it doesn’t look like there’s too much to worry about if you’re a keen marathon runner, because apparently your body soon recovers to its former health. However, as Life Hacker says: “The study does highlight the importance of taking some time to recover after a major athletic event.”

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