Ch.8 discussed exercise’s effect on longevity. While one would assume this to be a cut and dry “exercise more and live longer” that isn’t the case. The chapter made the same connection that has been nagging at me for a while: why waste your youth exercising in a way you hate if the benefit you get from it isn’t worth the suffering? While this sounds slightly extreme, as someone who hates running and has tried to force myself to do it 4 times a week, this was music to my ears. Running a lot can have great benefits and little down side for those like my mother, who has begun running something like 6 miles a day, regardless of weather, and sometimes multiple times a day. She does it for the physical benefit and also for mental health, as running as been shown to help with both depression and anxiety. This chapter has made me feel better about only moderate amounts of exercise due to a lack of engaging options, but I will be more active when I am able to take dance classes this summer.
Ch.9 discussed marriage, divorce, and being single. As it turns out, women are much better suited to be single and only men who remain married truly live longer. I do wonder about the piece of the chapter that said that it was men’s happiness in marriage that determined the quality of the relationship and the health of both partners. This makes me wonder if this is due to the cultural tendency of women during this time to remain home and tend to the home, the family, and the marriage (meaning a failing marriage would appear to be her fault according to this cultural tendency) or if it is due to the tendency of women to be more empathetic, making them more greatly effected by an unhappy spouse. I also wonder how the data would look with the more modern and diverse marriages that are common today.