Health

More evidence of the exercise-longevity link

I’m going to go way off on a tangent here: I fear death. I do not want to die any time soon. The actions I take help prevent it (although if I quit drinking completely that would be good, but a man needs one vice to stay sane).

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I’m going to go way off on a tangent here: I fear death.

I do not want to die any time soon. The actions I take help prevent it (although if I quit drinking completely that would be good, but a man needs one vice to stay sane).

I don’t think people worry about this enough. I don’t think enough people fear death. They go through life treating their bodies like crap and expect the medical establishment to save them. I’m going to link to this brand-new research that is just one more of the numerous examples of how exercise is shown to extend life expectancy.

There is a lot more research on this subject, and it was the subject of one of my LA Times columns over a year ago.

Exercise is often pushed as a calorie-burner, which is just about the least important thing it does. I think a very important aspect of exercise it that it is proven to help you control appetite and blunt the reward sensations experienced by eating highly palatable food, but more important is the effect that it has as a performance enhancer. I’m not just talking about making you faster, stronger, more flexible, or agile, but the effect that it has at the cellular level to make everything work better. Beyond your heart and lungs, the rest of your organs — including the brain — are more effective when you exercise, and so is your immune system. You become tougher through and through and less likely to die from…something. (Although getting hit by a car while running or cycling is a possibility, so be careful.)

I worry that so many people see exercise as just a means to burn calories for vanity purposes, and this isn’t a great mindset. I kind of lied when I said I fear death; what I really mean is that I love being alive and want to wring every bit of awesome experience I can out of it for as long as possible. I want to wrestle with great-grandkids.

While many people are riding the couch, I’m riding my bike. While most run themselves ragged with work, I just run. While others can barely lift themselves out of bed in the morning, I can lift much more than my own body weight.

I’m having fun being alive. More people need to think this way.

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