How Ultramarathons Affect the Heart, Blood, and Brain

17:26 minutes

Endurance runners braved the grueling Badwater Ultramarathon in the California desert last week, clocking 135 miles and some 17,000 cumulative feet of altitude gain, all in 100-degree temperatures. Ultramarathons seem to be growing in popularity—every week, dozens more are held around the world. But how do extreme endurance sports affect the body? Exercise scientists Tamara Hew-Butler and Greg Whyte talk about how running for dozens of hours can change the heart, blood, and brain. And if you prefer shorter distances, a new study suggests that just five minutes of daily jogging may boost heart health.

To hear more about research on running, listen here.

Segment Guests

Tamara Hew-Butler

Tamara Hew-Butler is an assistant professor of exercise science at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

Greg Whyte

Greg Whyte is a professor of applied sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.

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