Friday, January 05, 2007

A centenarian teenager

All you brisk joggers, power-walkers and marathon runners, stop right there, hold your breath for a minute and listen to me.

If you are brisk-jogging, power-walking or marathon-running to stay young, live longer and remain fit, you are simply wasting your time. If these are your objectives, your role model in life should not be the sprinting cheetah or the springing deer or the galloping horse, but the humble, unhurrying turtle.

Jonah Lehrer, editor of Seed magazine, refers to an article in New York Times :

The liver, lungs and kidneys of a centenarian turtle are virtually indistinguishable from those of its teenage counterpart. Turtles have the power to almost stop the ticking of their personal clock. "Their heart isn't necessarily stimulated by nerves, and it doesn't need to beat constantly," said Dr. George Zug, curator of herpetology at the Smithsonian Institution. "They can turn it on and off essentially at will."

So, leave thy panting and gasping and mad pounding of the pavement. The secret to longevity does not lie there. If you really want to have a healthy heart ticking rhythmically like a teenagers’ even at the age of 100, go slow. Crawl. Speed limit must be 100 cmph. Better still, get into your shell and stay there. Aesop was right. Slow does win the race.

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