Air Travel And How It Affects Marathon Runners

Traveling by air to races is part of marathon experience. Runners fly from around the world to participate in popular destination marathons such as London marathon, New York Marathon, Boston marathon and even to some remote marathon in world life park in Kenya, Lewa International Marathon.

Air travel may help explain clots in marathoners

The assumption is the only risk is Jet lag, but I have just read an article that claims, Marathon runners who travel by air to the race may end up with higher blood levels of molecules that have been linked to clots. Source Chicago Tribune Health Article.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, Parker and her colleagues took blood samples from 41 healthy non-smokers who participated in the 2010 Boston Marathon.

Twenty-three of them lived more than a four-hour plane flight away, while 18 participants — the comparison group — lived within a two-hour drive of Boston. The researchers collected blood after the runners landed in Boston, immediately after the marathon, and again when the participants were back home the next day.

After returning home, six people in the air travel group had elevated levels of a substance called D-dimer, which has been used as a sign of possible blood clots. By contrast, none of those who lived close to Boston did.

Air travel is known to double or triple the risk blood clots in the veins of the legs, called deep vein thrombosis

Don’t Start Panicking

None of the athletes showed actual symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, such as leg pain or swelling, shortness of breath or rapid heart rate.

Travel Tips for Runners Traveling By Air

The researchers recommended staying hydrated, wearing loose clothes, and not cross your legs for long periods of time. Walking around the cabin every one to two hours and wearing compression stockings can help too.

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