Effects of Long-Term Endurance Exercise on Cardiac Morphology, Function, and Injury Indicators among Amateur Marathon Runners

Jianzhong Hu, Songqing Zhou, Suryeon Ryu, Kaitlyn Adams, Zan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of long-term endurance exercise on cardiac morphology and function, as well as injury indicators, among amateur marathon runners. We recruited 33 amateur runners who participated in a marathon. Participants were divided into experimental and control groups according to their National Athletic Grade. The experimental group included participants with a National Athletic Grade of 2 or better, and the control group included participants who did not have a National Athletic Grade. Cardiac morphology, function, and injury indicators were assessed before and after the participants’ involvement in the Changsha International Marathon. All cardiac morphology and function indicators returned to pre-race levels at 24 h post-race, and left ventricular end-diastolic volume and left ventricular end-systolic volume indicators showed similar trends. Both stroke volume (SV) and percent fractional shortening (%FS) indicators showed similar trends in changes in the measurements before and after the race. SV showed no change between the pre-race and post-race periods. On the other hand, %FS showed a significant increase in the immediate post-race period, followed by restoration of its level at 24 h post-race. Among myocardial injury indicators, serum levels of cardiac troponin I, creatine kinase (CK), creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) measured before the race, immediately after the race, and 24 h after the race displayed similar trends in changes among CK, CK-MB, LDH, and AST, while NT-proBNP levels did not change. We concluded that high-level amateur marathon runners had greater heart volumes, as well as wall and septal thicknesses, than low-level marathon runners, with differences in heart volume being the most pronounced. Long-term high-intensity endurance exercise caused some damage to the hearts of amateur runners. High-level runners showed better myocardial repair ability, and their levels of myocardial injury markers showed greater decreases at 24 h post-race, while low-level runners had poorer myocardial repair ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2600
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • heart volume
  • high-intensity endurance exercise
  • myocardial injury
  • stroke volume

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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