Important News: “Training exercise did not influence rate of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) enlargement”

Karen, Feldenkrais instructor, with Mr. Bones and AAA stent graft.

Karen, my Feldenkrais instructor, holding a copy of my abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft in position in Mr. Bones (doubt he’ll need one anytime soon). Photo by FitOldDog.

A number of people have accused (yes, accused) me of inducing my abdominal aortic aneurysm by undertaking endurance sports, in the form of Ironman, at an older age. Never made any sense to me, as it is clearly a connective tissue disorder, based on aortic fluid mechanics alone. The article referred to below supports my case.

correlation graph

I see two distinct populations, with apparent benefit of exercise; wishful thinking? But I’m no statistician, just a humble pathologist.

And here are the conclusions of this recent research study on the issue, posted recently on the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Awareness Facebook Page (thanks Kenneth).

A Randomized Trial of Exercise Training in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Disease

Jonathan Myers, Mary Mcelrath, Alyssa Jaffe, Kimberly Smith, Holly Fonda, Andrew Vu, Bradley Hill, Ronald Dalman


Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(1)


These results support the safety and efficacy of training in patients with small AAA, a population for which few previous data are available. Despite advanced age and comorbidities, training up to 3 yr was well tolerated and sustainable in AAA patients. Training did not influence rate of AAA enlargement.”

Lamas on bike ride.

I wonder whether lamas develop abdominal aortic aneurysm? I bet they develop some kind of connective tissue disease. Every human disease has a non-human equivalent. Photo by FitOldDog on a recent bike ride.

Further thoughts from FitOldDog:

My opinion concerning exercise has always been that you can do it with any condition as long as you work within safe limits, which to some degree you have to determine/guess for yourself. People write and ask me questions concerning the safety of exercise (or sex for that matter), with AAA, and now there are some more data.

Thank goodness!

This is why continued funding of scientific research is so important – it’s more effective than prayer, in my opinion. People may not like my saying this, but it’s a fact, if there are such things as facts.

But how to develop a healthy funding process I have no idea?

Researchers have a tough time writing grants, and the most interesting questions generally come with some risk – risk of no clear outcome. So study sections (a somewhat quasi-politico-social group of people) sit and decide whether to fund or not to fund. I’m glad this one made it through the obstacle course of scientific funding.


  1. If you exercise you strengthen your body.
  2. In the process you strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  3. This leads to a stronger, more robust aorta.
  4. AND this will improve your chances of a successful aortic surgery and recovery (of your life), should you need one.

Happy Trails.




  1. Alan Martins says

    That supports what I’ve done in the last 5 years. Without knowing I had an aneurysm I did Weightlifting ( heavy, heavy weights) contact hockey, golf, softball and no growth at all.
    I would not lift like that again, and maybe the contact hockey is out as well, but I did do things in those 5 years that should of killed me a couple if times over.
    And I’m still kicking around like Kevin:)

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.