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Is Long-Distance Running Accelerating Aging? Plastic Surgeon Warns of “Runner’s Face

A plastic surgeon from New York is warning people about the potential effects of long-distance running.[0] Dr. Gerald Imber, a renowned plastic surgeon with a private practice in Manhattan, believes that running can cause people to age faster and may even lead to a “gaunt and old” appearance.

In a video that has gone viral on TikTok, Dr. Imber said: “We’re talking about things that prevent aging versus things that accelerate aging. I have a pet peeve. Half my patients love me for it, and half my patients hate me for it, but it’s about running.”[1]

The idea that running is linked to premature ageing has been around for years, and studies published in medical journals have found that intense exercises such as running can increase free radical production or oxidative stress.

Simply put, ‘runner’s face’ is a term used to describe the supposed effects that years of running has on a person’s appearance. Runners often have a sagging skin or gaunt look once they reach the end of the race. Speculation exists that the cause of the phenomenon known as “runner’s face” is the result of the repeated impacts and bouncing that occurs during running, which leads to sagging in the cheeks.[1] Running is also great for burning fat, which can make someone appear older if they lose a substantial amount of weight.[1]

Dr. Imber recommends no-impact or low-impact exercises such as riding a stationary bicycle or using a stair machine, and notes that it is perfectly fine to run a little bit every day or a few miles every other day.[2] He added that people should avoid the “repetitive beating that your face is taking” with more extreme running.[3]

Despite the potential negative impacts of running, Dr. Imber also noted that there are many benefits to the exercise, and that it should be done in moderation.[4] He said: “So if you want to run a little bit, terrific, but no-impact or low-impact aerobics is really the way to get your exercise.”[5]

The video has sparked debate from runners and non-runners around the globe, with some commenting that running keeps them sane and sober, while others defend the workout and admit to being addicted to the “runner’s high.”[6]

Beyond the skin and joint damage associated with long-distance running, there’s also the question of how it impacts the heart.[3]

0. “Plastic Surgeon Warns Long-Distance Running Speeds Up Aging” iHeart, 6 Mar. 2023,

1. “Surgeon Reveals The Exercise That Makes You Age Faster And May Cause A “Gaunt, Old Face”” Evie Magazine, 1 Mar. 2023,

2. “Famed Plastic Surgeon Claims 1 Form of Exercise Accelerates Aging, Video Goes Viral as Many Are Upset!” Just Jared, 2 Mar. 2023,

3. “Plastic surgeon warns 1 type of exercise ages your face faster” Yahoo Life, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “I’m a plastic surgeon and the worst exercise for ageing will give you a gaunt, old face” Express, 6 Mar. 2023,

5. “I’m a plastic surgeon — this exercise will age you faster” New York Post , 2 Mar. 2023,

6. “New York plastic surgeon’s viral TikTok video warns of exercise he says causes premature aging” Yahoo Life, 3 Mar. 2023,

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