Runners suffer more inflammation and muscle damage than cyclists

October 15, 2013, NC Research Campus

New scientific findings give endurance runners a reason to consider varying their training regime to include other sports.

The study, Immune and Inflammation Responses to a 3-day Period of Intensified Running Versus Cycling, was conducted by the Appalachian State University (ASU) Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. After a period of intense workouts, long-distance experienced more muscle damage, soreness and inflammation than . The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity in September 2013.

"Runners just can't put in the same volume of exercise as cyclists without experiencing more inflammation, soreness and muscle damage," said Principal Investigator David Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, director of the ASU Human Performance Laboratory. "Long-distance runners are encouraged to vary their training schedules, mixing higher and lower exercise workloads, and to include other training modalities like swimming or cycling to maintain the highest level of performance."

In the study, non-smoking, 19 to 45 year-old, long-distance runners and cyclists who regularly competed in races worked out for 2.5 hours per day for three days. Blood samples were taken pre-exercise and at one, 14 and 38 hour intervals after the three days of exercise. The results conclusively showed that runners had greater , and soreness compared to the cyclists.

A decrease in immune system function was similar in both runners and cyclists. The immune findings are in line with Nieman's previous research published in 2012 in the Journal of Cytokine Research. The study, Variance in the acute inflammatory response to prolonged cycling is linked to exercise intensity, demonstrated that the immune system reflects the physiologic stress experienced by the athlete.

For people who are not trained athletes but are interested in getting in better shape, Nieman recommends they start with cycling. "It is going to be a lot easier on the muscles," he said.

Explore further: Blueberry power: Eat your way to a better workout

Related Stories

Blueberry power: Eat your way to a better workout

October 10, 2013
Drop and give me 20. But don't forget to eat your blueberries before and after you complete those push-ups.

Running a marathon can be bad for the heart, especially in less prepared runners, say experts

October 9, 2013
Investigators who studied a group of recreational marathon runners have established that strenuous exercise such as running a marathon can damage the heart muscle. Although they found the effect is temporary and reversible, ...

Sleep deprivation, pacing protect runners' muscles in 200-mile long mountain race

June 26, 2013
Runners who complete one of the world's most challenging ultra-marathons experience less neuromuscular fatigue, muscle damage and inflammation compared to those who run distances half to one quarter as long, according to ...

Extreme cold good for exercise recovery

December 7, 2011
Athletes go to great lengths to protect their muscles and recover from exercise-induced muscle damage, but there has been little work to determine what methods are most effective.

Scientific breakthrough reveals secret to successful exercise programmes

January 18, 2013
Do you feel like exercise just leaves you fatigued without any real improvements? A study of cyclists by scientists at the University of Stirling has uncovered the secret to successful training, a discovery which could help ...

Nearly half of runners may be drinking too much during races

September 5, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Nearly half of recreational runners may be drinking too much fluid during races, according to a survey of runners by Loyola University Health System researchers.

Recommended for you

Improving vaccines for the elderly by blocking inflammation

January 22, 2018
By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people.

Novel genomic tools provide new insight into human immune system

January 19, 2018
When the body is under attack from pathogens, the immune system marshals a diverse collection of immune cells to work together in a tightly orchestrated process and defend the host against the intruders. For many decades, ...

First vaccine developed against grass pollen allergy

January 18, 2018
Around 400 million people worldwide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis), with the usual symptoms of runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm ...

Genomics reveals key macrophages' involvement in systemic sclerosis

January 18, 2018
A new international study has made an important discovery about the key role of macrophages, a type of immune cell, in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a chronic autoimmune disease which currently has no cure.

Researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis

January 17, 2018
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. In their latest study, researchers at La Jolla Institute reveal an important player that promotes ...

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker

January 16, 2018
While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.