Thursday, July 13, 2006


Another in the endless stream of puzzling scientific studies has just revealed to the world that active elders live longer than silver couch potatoes. You could have knocked me over with an industrial-sized Twinkie. To which sector of society it is news that an active life is a healthy (and long-lived) life? Where was that secret hidden away? Among the 'puttering and fidgeting' activities they speak of (how pointless and undynamic the journos make elderhood activity sound), I don't think these scientists ever really gardened; certainly not organically.

I do think, though, that if you were to walk down any street and ask 100 people: which do you think is healthier for an elder, A: doing chores around the house every day, or B: sitting on the sofa with potato chips watching soap reruns? I think you'd get a 100 "A" answers, except perhaps in the neighborhood of General Foods.

I see my 80-year old neighbors down in the village puttering around in their gardens every day (hand-planting potatoes at the moment); don't those scientists have neighbors like that? Maybe not, if it's only an aerobics neighborhood. But what is held to be 'more surprising' about the study is that it apparently doesn't matter what form the exercise takes! Why should that matter? What scientist thought that gardening, for example, was not every bit as much an exercise as aerobics? Let him raise my beds and turn my compost pile!

Gardening, by and large, is also more relaxing, as are most chores, like chopping firewood; plus you get something done (in this case something that feeds you, in one way or another) and you're better toned in body and mind because it's a comprehensive, natural exercise that also yields external results, not an artificial and merely corporeal one that does nothing productive, yet requires a fee.

I would imagine that the lab-potato scientists who do these kinds of studies have a shorter life expectancy than scientists who grow their own organic tomatoes.


In another landmark finding: Mushroom drug produces spiritual experiences
Guess these scientists weren't around in the 60s and have never been to Bali...


Zen said...

PErhaps the scientists have been spending tooo much time if front of there test tubes or doing book research than getting out to see the silver gardeners or put another way to smell the roses

Robert Brady said...

It's hard to say centered when you specialize.