Thursday, 3 May 2012

Plus Five

Before we go into the meat of this post, lets have a quick look at one of Devany's Laws,
  • "When the difference between the most you can do and the least you can do merges, you're dead."
Implicit in this is the encouragement to edge-dwell.

The Telegraph today reports that "'Jogging 'adds five years or more to life'",
  • As little as an hour a week is enough to deliver the surprising health benefit, according to the medics, who studied the longevity of around 2,000 Danish joggers with that of those who exercised less.

    What is more, they found that gentle jogging appeared to be better in terms of adding years to one's life, than cranking up the pace.

 I'd imagine that this last point is slightly more nuanced as there is good evidence that short, intense workouts provide a host of health benefits.  'Jogging' implies distance/time, so perhaps it is 'cranking up the pace for distance' a.k.a. 'chronic cardio' that is the problem here,
  • Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist on the heart study project, said: "We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity."

    The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.

    The study, started in 1976, has followed the cardiovascular health of around 20,000 people aged 20 to 93.The jogging sub-study looked at 1,116 male joggers and 762 female joggers and compared their lifespans to non-joggers in the main study population.

    Dr Schnohr, who is based at Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, said there was a U-shaped relationship between the amount and intensity of jogging and a person's risk of dying over a particular period.

    He said: "Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise. 
The same article mentions a similar finding in a study of 'communter cyclists', quoting Schnohr,
  • ...those who pedalled the hardest, tended to live the longest.

    He said at the time: "It is the intensity, not the duration, of cycling that is of the greatest importance in relation to all forms of mortality, or longevity, and it is even more pronounced for coronary heart disease."

    The difference is probably explained by the fact that, as performed by most people, normal jogging is more strenuous than normal cycling.
So those who pedal hardest tend to live longest - and it is intensity that matters not duration.  But (confusingly) normal jogging (as performed by most people) is deemed more streneuous than normal cycling.  So one assumes that 'normal joggers' must go for a greater duration than 'normal cyclists' which makes it more strenuous (ie 'strenuous' implies effort for duration rather 'power output').

It would seem that less is more.  Adopt a power law approach.  Move around lots at walking pace.  Engage in brief and vigorous exercise.  Edge dwell, and remember "when the difference between the most you can do and the least you can do merges, you're dead."

Medicine could probably give you an 'extra five years' but you want them specifically to be five healthy years.

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