Thursday, January 6, 2011

Walk This Way

My boys give me grief every time I make them walk to school.  If the weather is nice enough and we're on time, we hoof it about a mile or so to school. 

Those ingrates should be thanking me!  Once again, I have scientific proof that I should be Father of the Year if it weren't for the drunk and disorderly charges and that whole 'chaining my kids in the basement' misunderstanding. 

The University of Pittsburgh recently released findings that not only does walking help with your physical well being but relates directly to your mental well being, as well.  According to the college in Steeler-land, 'walking at least six miles a week may protect brain size and, in turn, preserve memory'. 

If I make the boys walk to school five days a week (not usually, but 3 - 4 when that bitch Winter isn't around) that would equal out to 6 or so miles a week.  That doesn't include all the walking they do as part of their day:  recess, gym class, etc.  Therefore, I am making my kids smarter by making them walk.  Or at the very least, helping them remember all the nonsense I've put in their heads. 

Sadly, all this does is make them remain on par with every other kid in the world.  I figure having me as their father loses them 10 - 15 IQ points due to the genetic mess I handed down and having been in such close proximity to my demented brain their entire lives.  Growing up with me shaping sociological and behavioral patterns can't be good for any living thing. 

Still, I am helping them down the line.  As the study claims, walking is also good for 'staving off cognitive impairment' in the elderly.  Hey, I'm elderly!!  Yay for me!

But wait, there's more!

This same school just connected walking gait and speed of elderly people to how long they may live.  I would link to it, but you have to pay for it for some strange reason.  Anything for a buck, I guess. 

According to the article 'the researchers found that gait speed was associated with differences in the probability of survival at all ages in both sexes, but was especially informative after age 75 years'.  Now, granted, it could be that if you're 75 and walk well you're in better health than those 75 year olds that need a go-kart to get around.  But I won't let simplistics like that get in the way of my twisted rationale. 

Our researchers again:  'Predicted years of remaining life for each sex and age increased as gait speed increased, with a gait speed of about 0.8 meters [2.6 feet]/second at the median [midpoint] life expectancy at most ages for both sexes. Gait speeds of 1.0 meter [3.3 feet]/second or higher consistently demonstrated survival that was longer than expected by age and sex alone. In this older adult population the relationship of gait speed with remaining years of life was consistent across age groups, but the absolute number of expected remaining years of life was larger at younger ages'.

While I've never measured my walking pace, I can safely say I'm well above the 1 meter per second referenced here.  I'm a very fast walker and am constantly annoyed by the slower people in my way.  I believe I've mentioned this before about one hundred thousand times in this space. 

Let's do some math.  I walk to and from the train station every day.  It's about two and a half miles round trip.  2.5 times 5 equals 12.5 miles.  Add to that walking I do during the work day (it's surprisingly high as I don't sit at my desk much during most days) and I would estimate 15 - 18 miles a week I walk. 

And walk quickly. 

More math:  Quicker walkers live longer.  Walkers retain their mental faculties better than non walkers. 

Conclusion:  I am an invicible, all knowing being who would be in greater power of authority if beer didn't kill all the brain cells my walking helped create.  I supposed I could rule the world if I quit drinking, but we all know that's not happening any time soon. 

Did I say soon?  I meant EVER!!!  Stupid brain. 


Today's distraction:  Check out some of the 1700 words Shakespeare invented.  That's insane!!  Wait, did he invent that word, too?  I'll bet he walked everywhere. 

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