We know that doing some fitness is a pretty good way to extending your life expectancy. But how much time do you really gain when compared to the time spent doing all that fitness?
The Math Of Life
On the abstract level we all realize that doing fitness likely leads you to living longer.
But on that practical, life-is-now level, 30 minutes of working out five times per week at the moment means 2 1/2 hours you can’t spend partying, playing computer games or hanging out on Facebook, right?
Yet going for the instant satisfaction instead of grinding away with weights or going running would be saving on the wrong end, as we say in Germany.
First Of All: Your Gross Gain
To see why, let us first establish how much fitness you need to get the biggest bang for the buck.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute took the data of 654,287 people between 21 -90 and examined what amount of moderate weekly fitness had what benefit on life expectancy. The outcome was as follows:
- 1 1/4 hours increased life expectancy by 1.8 years
- 2 1/2 weekly hours led to 3.4 more years
- 5 hours came in at an extra 4.2 years
- 7.5 hours resulted in 4.5 more years
Quite clearly somewhere between 2 1/2 and 5 weekly hours the cost / benefit levels off.
Cost Vs. Benefit
So you start exercising for those 2 1/2 weekly hours at age 20 and keep it up for the next forty years. That’s 130 hours of fitness per year, or 5,200 hours in forty years. Divide them by 24 and you find out you spent almost 217 days on fitness. That’s like exercising 24/7 from January to August!
On the other hand, you gained 3.4 years and they have 1,241 days. The end calculation therefore looks like this:
- You spent 217 days working out
- You gained an extra 1,241 days
- Your net gain is 1,024 days
And that of course doesn’t include the additional benefits you will reaping in form of a higher quality of life, less “downtime” due to illness etc.
You Can’t Afford Not Do It
When we see it that way, you actually can’t afford not to work out. Because it gives you a load of extra time to do what you love. You don’t even have to spend money on it.
What would you do with about three extra years?
Picture courtesy of Boaz Arad.