Yay! I’m going to live forever!

I’ve got one of those sedentary jobs, and my hobbies are all rather sedentary, too. That’s bad for my health. But now Steven Novella reports on the latest analysis of the effects of exercise, and it’s good news.

The authors looked at the two variables of interest, exercise and sedentary time. Sedentary time includes driving, sitting at a desk, watching TV, and similar activity. Moderate exercise could be just taking a brisk walk, and they mostly considered the total time of exercise.

Not surprisingly, they found that exercise was associated with decreased risk of death from all causes in the 14 year follow up period, while time spent being sedentary was associated with increased risk of death.

But then they also looked at people who had sedentary jobs and hobbies, but also exercised. They found a decreased risk of death in this group. In fact, the risk of death in this group was lower than for those who did not have sedentary habits, but also did not exercise.

That describes me exactly. For the past year or two, I’ve been ramping up my exercise program, and now walk about 5 miles a day, and this is confirmation that I’ve got “decreased risk of death”.

I just need news that there’s something to offset my bad genetics next. I’m hoping that drinking beer and eating chocolate cake might do something to patch up some ugly genes.


  1. Raucous Indignation says

    An aspirin and an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor daily probably would do you the most good.

  2. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin isn’t sure about a Martini hat — she is known to use a barrel to keep her hydrated between cheese shops — but points out the Martini tends to be well shaken. A lid is essential.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    5 miles per day at 20 minutes per mile = 100 minutes per day, lets round up to 2 hrs per day, 14 hrs per week,
    728 hrs per year = 30 days, 8 hrs per year.
    so, to be contrarian: cost benefit analysis.
    cost = 30d8h /yr. how much time gets added to life with such a regimen?

    I know lazy me like to argue, facetiously, that 1 hr of exercise will extend my life 15 minutes, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  4. Raucous Indignation says

    I had someone tell me that they had been alive for more than 10,000 days and had never died. Not even once. So that proved to them that they would live forever. Just extend that logic out a few thousand days, PZ, and you are all set!

  5. Raucous Indignation says

    @6 Iris, if there are martini hats, they need to be Snell 2016 compliant.

  6. antigone10 says

    @PZ Myers at 10

    Depends on if you consider walking to be living. I hate exercise* but I do it because I’m hoping to improve on the quality of life. So I wouldn’t consider the cost-benefit analysis of 1 hour of exercise for 15 extra minutes of life sufficient, I would want a util breakdown. Is the util payment, including opportunity lost for other options, worth the util increase of my non-exercise time?

    *Yes, even your hobby. Even if it’s biking, walking, skiing, skating, dancing kayaking, martial arts, kick-boxing, Pilates, swimming or on a stationary bike will reading. Does it cause me to sweat? Does it cause my lungs to burn? Does it cause muscles to be sore? Is it repetitive? Then yes, I hate that exercise. No, I do not get a runner’s high. Yes, I have given my body time to get used to it.

  7. says

    I was having muscle pains with statins until I started taking Coq10. Apparently statins also blocks that metabolic pathway. Didn’t want to give up on statins because I had an angioplasty 20 years ago.

  8. roachiesmom says

    Antigone10 @15 — you motivated me to log in so I could let you know you are not alone in that. The concepts of runner’s high and ‘good’ sweat*/pain completely elude and boggle me. Always have. (And I spent over 6 years having to walk everywhere I needed to go, so that means it was at least a mile a day, and lot of days more like 6-10 miles, or more, loaded down with a huge, heavy backpack, and often also with groceries and/or 8-12 one-liter bottles of water.) My kid drives now, and once a week — and when other things come up if she can — she takes me to the store and other errands. I don’t even pretend to exercise anymore. (But hey, you can actually cut down on a lot of snacking by being too lazy to walk to the kitchen for food…)

    *Or sweat at all. That is a sensory horror.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There are easy ways to increase one’s exercise. When I go to the stores, I park well away from the doors, and once inside, also make a loop of the Big Box Store. It’s hard to get away for a 40 minute walk when the Redhead might need me. The store runs are usually when our hired help is on site, and I don’t have to worry about the Redhead.

  10. ledasmom says

    I am fortunate enough to live within walking distance of everything I need except my workplace (9.5 miles is too much to do twice a day, plus no sidewalks for much of that distance. Did it once. Not too bad, but takes too much time). Two supermarkets two miles in one direction down the main drag, one in the other, another across the park. Therapist’s office one and a half miles away. Doctor, half a mile. Library maybe two miles? I don’t much like exercise as exercise, but walking to get to places is fine. I’ve seen kildeer, turkeys, deer, goldfinches, snakes, turtles and other interesting fauna on my walks. I have to cut down in winter, because although the sidewalks get cleared, the spaces between businesses turn into dirty-ice Matterhorns. Going down the sidewalk turns into walk, decide if that heap of ice is scalable, scurry along the street for ten feet, hop back onto a hopefully not icy patch of sidewalk, repeat.
    Older son and I once walked to the drugstore during a snow emergency (had to go. Out of pads.) Nose-biting cold, but we saw swans on the lake dabbling, which is pretty funny. We found out that exactly two places are open during a snow emergency: drugstores and Dunkin Donuts. Dunkies was doing a hell of a business from the people clearing the snow. We took a dozen home (donuts, not plow drivers).
    The only problem is that we are on the highest residential street in the city. Sometimes two miles of mostly uphill is not what you want at the end of a walk.
    I always feel pretty damn lucky that I have the time and ability to do my errands on foot, except when it’s forty and raining. Walking and anti-anxiety medication keep me functional.

  11. says

    To quote Covert Bailey, the best exercise is the one you will do. It doesn’t matter how good a particular exercise is for your health if you have no willingness or enthusiasm. Something is better than nothing. (No walking or running for me, please – one’s too slow and the other’s too painful. Cycling is fun.)

    In other recent relevant health news:

    Pumping iron: Lighter weights just as effective as heavier weights to gain muscle, build strength

    New research from McMaster University is challenging traditional workout wisdom, suggesting that lifting lighter weights many times is as efficient as lifting heavy weights for fewer repetitions.
    “Fatigue is the great equalizer here,” says Stuart Phillips, senior author on the study and professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.”

    It’s like using ropes and pulleys to move something. The total work matters, not time.

  12. ledasmom says

    My problem with lighter weights is getting bored too easily. It’s good to know there are options, though. I’d like to do more cycling, but the hills here make it difficult for me to just go for a casual cycle from home (one way, it’s terrifying; the other way it’s impossible).