Exercise and the Fountain of Youth

Exercise and the Fountain of Youth

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Juan Ponce de Leon died at age 47 in the year 1521. At the time, he was looking for the Fountain of Youth in Havana, Cuba. Could he have been aware that one minute of exercise gives you a 7 minute longer lifespan? He was running hard in 1521 when the native Calusa Indians put an arrow, poisoned with the sap of the Manchineel tree, right through his thigh. Exercise has always had positive benefits if you don’t count the effects of poisoned arrows sticking out of your south side. The simplest benefit is that it makes you feel better. Most of us have known that the more you exercise, the healthier you get. Another benefit is possibly weight loss or muscle gain. Now there has been a study that shows another wonderful benefit of exercise: longevity, unless your name is Juan Ponce de Leon! Read on!

Found on commonhealth.wbur.org:

…the data of a recent major paper on exercise and longevity, you can calculate that not only do you get the time back; it comes back to you multiplied — possibly by as much as seven or eight or nine.

…a middle-aged person who gets the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise — defined as the level of brisk walking — can expect a 1-to-7 return: seven extra minutes of life gained for each minute spent exercising.

To quote Tom Anthony, a regular CommonHealth reader with a Harvard physics degree who kindly helped me with the math, “I wish I could get these paybacks in the stock market.”

…more strenuous exercise has approximately double the effect. So, for example, 75 minutes of jogging has roughly the effect of 150 minutes of brisk walking. So instead of gaining seven times the time spent, you’d be gaining 14 times.

So, hopefully this will provide enough incentive to encourage you to exercise multiple times a week, perhaps under the shade of a Manchineel tree. Get on those walking or running shoes and get moving – watch for arrows!

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