Long-distance running, particularly a marathon, is in and of itself a significant fitness achievement.

There's the triumphant feeling when one finally crosses the finish line, and of course, the many health benefits those long days of rigorous training bring — such as developing endurance, boosting your mood, enhancing the body's ability to burn fat almost effortlessly, and lowering your overall risk of getting cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

However, it also has its ugly side, too. Because it puts the body under a lot of stress, marathon running can be extremely taxing physically. There's the danger of muscle inflammation leading to injuries, a compromised immune system, and now as recent research reveals, acute kidney injury, too.

Side Effect Of Marathon Running: Acute Kidney Injury

A new study published in American Journal of Kidney Diseases suggests that marathon runners are likely to develop acute kidney injury during a race.

The result of the small study was founded on data gathered through the blood and urine samples of 22 participants who ran the 2015 Hartford Marathon. After careful observation, the researchers from Yale University reported that 82 percent of the runners had evidence of stage 1 acute kidney injury after the race.

"We knew we would find something, but I was surprised by the level [of injury]. It's comparable to what I see in hospitals," Dr. Chirag Parikh, a nephrologist and the principal author of the study, told Time.

Kidneys Heal Themselves

The researcher also noted, however, that the kidneys can repair on their own within 24 to 48 hours.

"I would think that the majority of marathon runners are doing OK because the 22 people who participated in the study had normal kidney function and had been running marathons for an average of 12 years. If running marathons caused a great deal of permanent kidney injury, these runners would have minimal kidney function remaining," he explained.

Nevertheless, Dr. Parikh believes that their findings emphasize the fact that running a marathon comes with tremendous physical demands and can take its toll. He urges people with existing medical conditions to be extra careful and to consult their trainers and physicians before gearing up for a marathon.

Safety Tips For Marathon Runners

Dr. Malissa Wood of Harvard Medical School in Boston conducted a study on 60 long-distance runners who completed the Boston Marathon back in 2004 and 2005.

Wood said that when you're exercising for four hours, your body needs to maintain levels of glucose and it needs to be hydrated, especially if you're running in a warm climate.

Wood highly recommends training ahead, getting a good night's sleep, and rehydrating regularly during the race to lower the potential risks of kidney damage.

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