Chapter 8 and 9

Chapter 8 of the novel debunks myths and perceptions that people have about physical activity and the benefits to health. Generally, people think that exercising vigorously leads to longer life, however as it turns out, healthy fitness levels are more personal. Prior to this, no study analyzed the detail of physical activity across the lifespan.  As it turns out, more sociable children developed into more active adults. Those that were more neurotic grew up to be the opposite of active. Even though young childhood tendencies may have predicted how active you might become, the most important to health and longevity is being active in the middle ages. Another point made in chapter 8 debunks running for miles on end to be healthy.  For a person that jogs an hour every day, there is not likely to be much of a net gain in time and life. Also, those who are jogging unhappily is trading away hours of youth and activities they enjoy much more.

When reading this chapter, I instantly thought of my active lifestyle and running choices. Even though I trained for and ran in a half marathon, it was getting tedious in the end. I much rather spend physical activity time doing a team sport. Hence, why I am on the ultimate club frisbee team. We practice / play for 8 hours a week and travel to tournaments during the semester. When I grow older, I hope to adhere to my active lifestyle that I have now despite the stressors that may occur in the future. Perhaps the way to do so is joining an indoor / outdoor recreation league.

Chapter 9 goes to discuss how marital status relates to the longevity of life. It was interesting to see the methodology and reasoning behind how they came up with the 8 distinct categories. Instead of studying marriage as a single event or stimulus, the study analyzes it as something that occurs over time.  Like physical activity, mentioned in the previous chapter, marriage is complex, and reasons why individuals get and stay married are based on a “variety of personal reasons, social influences, and societal expectations (p.114).” In the end they found that divorced men were at much higher mortality risk. They inferred that the stresses of divorce, is one of the greatest social stresses, and can harm a person mentally and physically. Interestingly, the single men also outlived the remarried and divorced men. With women, it turns out that being divorced was much less harmful to women’s health than it was to men. Concluding this chapter, it ends with a chicken-and-egg-dilemma. They claim that a sexually and happy marriage can predict future health and longer life. Yet sexual satisfaction plays a part in a happy marriage, and a happy marriage impacts sexual satisfaction. Because of this circular argument amongst many in this chapter, more concrete evidence needs to be mentioned or shown from the studies.

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1 Response to Chapter 8 and 9

  1. Jessica Patel says:

    Great post, Brittany!
    I agree with the many circular arguments that these chapters/the whole book in general has displayed. It’s kind of annoying to hear that certain traits or situations are connected to longevity, but do not cause one to live a longer life. Wouldn’t it be so nice if we could work towards being the “perfect personality” so that we could all live to 150 years?
    I know that I am exaggerating but think about it. It sounds terrible to run every single day if you do not like that activity because you are supposedly going to increase your longevity by a couple of years. The authors should have done a better job in showing that these are trends displayed. They are worthwhile to study as it can be used for support on experimental studies that can actually show causation.

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