Running, heart disease, and the ironic death of Jim Fixx

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2002 Mar;73(1):38-46. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2002.10608990.


Jim Fixx was one of millions ofAmericans who started running in the 1 960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Unlike other runners, however, Fixx wrote a best-selling book about running and, ironically, died of a heart attack at the age of 52 years while running. Fixx and the authors of other running books believed heart disease resulted from overcivilization and recommended running as a cure. Running was not merely a physical exercise, according to those authors, but also a way of life. Moreover, those running authors, who were often doctors themselves, advised their readers to listen to their bodies, instead of their doctors. Fixx's adherence to that philosophy offers an explanationfor his seemingly irrational behavior--running through chest pain and discomfort.

MeSH terms

  • Famous Persons
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / mortality
  • Heart Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Running / psychology*
  • Sports Medicine