The Thane Half-Marathon on Sunday turned tragic after news reports emerged that a 46-year-old Kandivili resident had died after completing the run. It seems that the man who passed away was Suresh Cherusseri, a former junior basketball player who also represented India at the Junior Asian Basketball Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 1985. Reports suggest that he was suffering from diabetes and hypertension.The Mumbai Marathon also saw some cases of cardiac arrests which again raises the question whether strenuous activities like running are bad for people’s hearts.
It’s true there have been cases of cardiac arrests among seemingly healthy people even highly trained athletes. Last year, a 23-year old footballer called Fabrice Muamba suffered from a cardiac arrest on the field during an FA Cup match which lasted for 78 minutes. Thankfully, Muamba made a recovery though his heart condition forced him to retire from the game. A lot of research has been done on the condition and there’s evidence that suggests that it’s not the strenuous activity but internal heart defects or other conditions which are responsible for people suffering from heart conditions while exercising. Also conditions like diabetes and hypertension can also be dangerous.
Dr Aashish Contactor, an avid marathon runner himself and the Medical Director of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon reiterates that people should keep their health profile in mind before taking up long distance running. People who suffer from conditions like uncontrolled chronic diseases (kidney, blood sugar, high blood pressure) or suffer from an unstable angina (uneasiness in the chest during running) should avoid running. Even if you don’t have any chronic health ailments, you should definitely get a check-up before starting running or any sort of physical exercise, irrespective of your age.
Here are Dr Contractor’s tips for beginners:
Start with brisk walking. Once you can walk briskly for 30-40 minutes at a stretch and can cover approximately 3 to 4 km in that time, start by adding some running to your programme. In order to help your body acclimatise to the change in your fitness regime alternate between running and brisk walking. Walk for about 3 minutes and run for 1 minute. Gradually increase your running time and decrease your walking time. Once you have conquered the 5-7 kilometre milestone, in about 12 weeks’ time you can train for the half marathon and depending on your inherent fitness level you will be ready for the full marathon in about 20-25 weeks
For more tips read: Things you should keep in mind before taking up running
Do you the symptoms of a heart attack? Check out our symptom search.First Published: Feb 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM