Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fifteen Minutes A Day

A recent Taiwanese study found that fifteen minutes a day of moderate exercise may add three years to your life.
As far as I’m concerned, this is great news. Not for the reason given by the lead researcher, namely that this result will presumably encourage more people to take up a daily exercise regimen.
Rather, this study demonstrates that there’s really little reason to get off the sofa and start walking, running or climbing stairs. Let’s face it; exercise sucks, big time. So if I’m going to gain three years at the end of my life, what’s the actual cost in exercising time?
Let’s do the math. Assuming that the average life expectancy for a male is 79 and that this regular exercise thing would start at around 14 years of age, that means sixty-five years of fifteen minutes a day of exercise to increase your lifespan to 82 years.
Is it worth it? Well, fifteen minutes a day for sixty-five years means a quarter hour times 365 days a year or 91.25 hours a year. Times sixty-five years that adds up to 5,931 hours or about 247 days or two-thirds of an entire year.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m not ready to undergo a definitely unpleasant two-thirds of a year in return for three end-of-life years. Plus, that two-thirds of a year would have to be subtracted from those three years anyway. Much like a car in the garage for repairs, that time hardly counts as useful living.
Let’s be realistic, too; those years between 79 and 82 are not likely going to be your best ones. In fact, if experience is any judge, they’re probably going to be filled with aches, pains, illnesses, ailments and lots of medications.
Why spend your life annoying yourself for a quarter of an hour a day if all it gets you in the end is three years of geezerhood? Nice try Taiwanese study but this is one guy who’s not going to fall for your fancy multi-factor cohort group statistical analysis.
I don’t need any fancy research telling me to exercise. That one-or-two-glasses-of-wine-a-day-is-good-for-you study is all the medical research I require. Unless, of course, you’ve got a more-red-meat-extends-your-life study or some watching-sports-on-TV-promotes-heart-health research. Then I’m all ears.