Friday, March 18, 2011

The Longevity Project

If your looking for an interesting read look no further than The Longevity Project by Psychologist Howard Friedman, Ph.D and Leslie Martin, Ph.D. If your like me and you love exercise, research and the effects it has on various aspects of life - then this is right up your alley. This is the first book to follow a group of 1,500 test subjects over eight decades. During the study which started back in 1921 with this group of gifted 10 year old Californians - known as the Terman subjects - more than 10 million pieces of data were collected.  I particularly enjoyed reading chapter 8 that looked at physical activity level and some of the myths surrounding longevity and physical activity that still stand today in the minds of many but the data just doesn't back it up (i.e running). I liked the way the authors put people in different categories (i.e jocks and nerds) and what effects exercise has on these different populations.

"No study had ever before been able to look in such detail at physical activity across the life span, from childhood through aging until death"

The study also found that men on average were more active than women but there were many different patterns and there was a decline in activity after the teenage and college years and again following the sixth decade of life. They also reported that children who were more sociable when they were young had a tendency to be more active as they aged.

If your interested in having a glimpse of whats to come as you age and how things like activity level and marriage effects aging and some of the myths regarding exercise then you need to read this book.

A special thank you to author Leslie Martin, Ph.D for her response to my email and for a specific article that the book referenced - it was great ...thank you!


MelanieGreenbergPhD said...

Hi Michael,
I also just read The Longevity Project book & loved it and I've also written some posts recently about research on the benefits of diet and exercise, so i was pleased to see your informative and positive post. I followed your blog as well. We seem like-minded.
Melanie Greenberg, PhD

Michael Wood said...

Hi Dr. Greenberg - I'm glad that you also enjoyed the Longevity Project - think of the amount of research that has come from that study. I'm sure it's not the last book that we shall see. Please forward the URL for your blog - I would be interested in sharing some posts'