Training for your first marathon can be just as good for your blood pressure as drugs by ‘reversing’ the ageing of blood vessels, a study found.

The reduction of four years of age-related artery stiffness could reduce the risk of stroke by up to 10 per cent over a person’s lifetime, scientists said.

They tracked people who ran 13 miles a week for six months and found those who were older or slower gained the greatest health boost.

As we age, blood vessels stiffen which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease even in healthy people.

But compared to their peers, lifelong athletes have biologically younger blood vessels.

University College London researchers investigated whether training for the London Marathon could modify aortic stiffness even in novice runners.

British Heart Foundation expert, Dr Anish Bhuva said: ‘Novice runners who trained for six months and completed their first marathon had a four-year reduction in arterial age and a 4mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure.

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