Liberal, conservative, moderate, right-wing, left-wing – do your political leanings influence your fitness?
Redefining Extreme Fitness
Scientists from Australia’s University of Sydney went after the question and took the data of 29,000 Europeans representing 32 countries and aged 18 and up.
Of these people, 6.8% reported to be left-wing, 6.5% to be right-wing, 26.2% didn’t mention any political affiliation, while the vast majority (60.5%) had views that were in the middle (“centrists”).
How did their fitness efforts align with their political views? Thus spoke the study, published in the British Medical Journal, no less:
- The “neutrals” spend 225.2 minutes per week with vigorous physical activity
- Left-wingers almost half an hours more (29.6 minutes)
- Right-wingers 27.1 minutes more
- Left-wingers (345.9 minutes / week) walk more than right-wingers (337 minutes)
- But right-wingers (297.9 minutes) sit less than left-wingers (306.7 minutes)
- In total activity, left and right extremists are both about 1 hour more active than centrists
- Those with no political opinion at all are even less active than the moderate middle
Unfortunately the study doesn’t clarify how extremists manage being more active. Do they hit the gym more often or do they have more creative physical outlets?
Go To Extremes, Be Healthier
But it doesn’t matter, your fitness is worse off if you are moderate, weigh both sides in a discussion and try to see the other perspective.
The Sydney guys summarize it in the only possible and logical conclusion:
The size of the differences in physical activity—around an hour a week more than the centrists—may be health enhancing for people on the left and right. It is those sitting in the middle (politically) that are truly inactive, and may be sitting more (both on the fence and elsewhere), making them a defined at-risk group.
Taking the logic to the bitter end, they of course recommend:
Health gains, through increased physical activity may result from encouraging centrists and the politically uncommitted to consider moving “off the fence” in either political direction.
Build and throw the occasional Molotov cocktail or walk around a bit in your bed sheets. It’s all for your health!
My Next Research Project
My next study will be on researchers whose mental capacity is affected by getting out of touch with reality.