A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed 138 rookie runners as they attempted the London Marathon. Over the six months of training, participants saw lowered blood pressure and aortic stiffness which can reduce the rick of heart attacks and strokes.
They also found that those who were least fit saw the biggest benefits.
"Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of ageing on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months," says senior author Dr. Charlotte Manisty, a senior lecturer at University College London and a consultant cardiologist at the Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals.
"These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants."
Want to follow suit but don't know where to start? Participants were put on the standard, beginner's training guide offered by the London Marathon, which advises three runs per week, increasing difficulty over the six months in the lead up to the race.
Running trainer and found of Flow Athletic, Ben Lucas, previously told Women's Health that in addition to jogging, it's important to incorporate strength training and recovery methods into your routine.
"When preparing to run a marathon, strength training is very important, because as above, you need to strengthen up your muscles, ligaments and work on your weaker areas to make sure everything is balanced and strong," he says. Yoga can also have major benefits.
"It is also great for balance, flexibility, mobility and mental endurance. All of which are needed if you were to be participating in any endurance event..."