Tuesday, November 29, 2011

21.4 minutes or 4 years - you decide

This is my 100th blog post and it may be one of the most important I have written (some might argue that none up until now were important, so at least I am marking the 100th milestone by upping my game). 

Many people feel that they don't have adequate time to eat properly (i.e., eat real, actual food, not the latest cure-all supplement or meal replacement) or to exercise (read: move your body). Well, in a new study reported on today, that 21.4 minutes per day that you save not exercising (they recommend a paltry 150 minutes a week or 21.4 minutes a day) will cost you 4 years that you could have lived. It's your choice: 21.4 minutes per day of some form of activity, or meet your maker 4 years sooner. Moreover, consuming 5 or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables can also add an extra 1.3 years on average to your life. The arithmetic is simple: a little investment now will pay dividends later.


  1. Definitely important and alarming stuff. Here's a few points.

    1) 21.4 minutes per day over the course of a lifetime can add up to a lot. That is 130.18 hours a year spent exercising. Given Canada's average life expectancy of ~80 years, I have roughly 57 years left to live. Therefore, (130.18hrs/yr x 57yrs)= 7420.45 hours over my lifetime should be spent exercising, or 309.19 days. So it's more like "21.4 minutes or 3 years and 55 days" if you count the time spent exercising as a negative. Plus, this is assuming that this so-called "added four years" is accurate over a time course of exercising for 57 years. I don't think an old-timer in his early 90's would benefit much from 21.4 minutes of exercise per day. Maybe he'd add 4 days to his life, at best.

    2) If you're looking to strictly negate the effects of senescence, with no regard for health throughout aging, the most efficient method is calorie restriction (Dugatkin's got a good chapter on again in his Animal Behavior textbook). But being raised in a society that's saturated with food, this isn't the easiest task (or most logical) for everyone.

    3) Finally, what I think is the most important point, is the fitness tradeoff. Sure, if you don't spend any time being active, you'll die four years sooner. But maybe someone cares more about spending their 21.4 minutes a day writing music, painting, reading, cooking, or just thinking. As a great man once said, "I eat the Snicker's bar because it makes me happy now, knowing that it takes a few seconds off of my life." I think the best solution would be to adjust one's attitude, so one wouldn't need the Snicker's bar to be happy. But again, a difficult task for a lot of people.

  2. I think if the general public gave this issue 1/1,000 as much consideration as you did writing this post, there would be no need for my initial blog post, or the study that it is based upon!