This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Run For Your Life! But Only in Moderation

More than 2,000 years ago Aristotle advised us to be moderate in all things. I happen to think that this is pretty good advice and so I was not too surprised today to learn on CBS News that a new study presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Washington, D.C. offers up an example: Too little or too much exercise can shorten your life expectancy.
The researchers behind the newest study on the issue say people who get either no exercise or high-mileage runners both tend to have shorter lifespans than moderate runners. But the reasons why remain unclear, they added.

The new study seems to rule out cardiac risk or the use of certain medications as factors. 
"Our study didn't find any differences that could explain these longevity differences," said Dr. Martin Matsumura, co-director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa.
The general advice seems to be that if you don't exercise, then you fall into the "use it or lose it" category, and this can lead to an earlier than expected death. This is consistent with the approach to exercise among seniors being promoted in Spain, where people are encouraged to "use it." At the other extreme, too much exercise puts you into the "wear and tear" category with respect to important parts of your body such as your heart. You are then perhaps artificially aging your body, leading to an earlier than expected death.

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