Does putting the human body under a lot of stress, such as in professional sprinting or long-distance running, impact life span? Is there such a thing as too much exercise or too intense? This podcast episode aims to find the answer to the question, “Can extreme exercise prolong our longevity?” and more.

An illustration of a professional male athlete running.Share on Pinterest
Recent research indicates that extreme exercise may help prolong life span in some people. | Illustration by Andrew Nguyen for Medical News Today

Everything in moderation, or “pan metron ariston,” as the ancient Greek saying goes. And when it comes to matters of health, a similar philosophy is often touted as the best strategy — whether this be nutrition or exercise.

More and more research shows that staying active is the key to a longer, healthier life. But what about intense physical activity? Could professional athletic performance do more harm than good? Or can this intense training actually contribute to an increased life span?

In this episode of In Conversation, we turn the focus to all things extreme exercise and longevity. Based on the findings of a recent study, which found that a select group of elite runners could live around five years longer on average than the general population, Medical News Today editors Maria Cohut and Yasemin Nicola Sakay discuss the probable biological mechanisms behind how more extreme forms of exercise, such as 4-minute mile running, affect longevity with an expert in cardiology.

Joining the conversation is Michael Papadakis, president of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC), professor of cardiology at St George’s, University of London, honorary consultant cardiologist at St George’s University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, and consultant cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic London in the United Kingdom.

Papadakis shares easy-to-follow advice on how to incorporate more physical activity into our daily lives while discussing the potential health risks and benefits of running and similar forms of professional athletic performance.

Listen to our podcast episode in full below or on your preferred streaming platform.