Living longer

I was never much of a one for sports. Every time I played baseball, I got hit in the mouth with a ball or bat. Whenever I played football, I ended up with a mouthful of mud. Imagine my delight when I discovered that the physical education requirement at my college could be satisfied by playing ping pong or on the rifle range.

After reaching that glorious stage in life when other people couldn't make me do things I'd rather not, the case against exercising seemed straightforward and overwhelmingly persuasive.

  1. Exercising consumed time.
  2. Exercising was not programming.
  3. Therefore, by exercising, less time was available for programming.

I'm a hacker—I like to program! Substitute your own favourite activity for programming and you'll see what I mean. In addition, exercise carried all the unpleasant connotations of high school calisthenics, or the equivalent indignity of more modern, yet equally regimented, forms of workouts.

But is there a flaw in this argument after all? Indeed there is. The premises are correct, but the conclusion doesn't account for the fact that regular exercise will, in all likelihood, allow you to live longer. Let's look at the numbers.

This "Life Extension Worksheet" is provided as an Excel worksheet. You may want to load LIFEXT.XLS and plug in your own numbers to compare with mine. Directions for calculating increased lifespan by hand are given on page 287.

LIFEXT.XLS

How to Stay Young

How to Stay Young

For centuries, ever since the legendary Ponce de Leon went searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, people have been looking for ways to slow down the aging process. Medical science has made great strides in keeping people alive longer by preventing and curing disease, and helping people to live healthier lives. Average life expectancy keeps increasing, and most of us can look forward to the chance to live much longer lives than our ancestors.

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