We can file the study noted here alongside a 2015 twin study as a compelling piece of evidence that stands in opposition to a significant role for high levels of exercise in human longevity. These two are still vastly outnumbered by studies supporting the idea that exercise drives a modestly slower pace of aging, particularly when it comes to the difference between no exercise and some exercise, but they are nonetheless quite clear in and of themselves and quite hard to ignore. The association between athletic performance and greater life expectancy is well proven, but if similar benefits are observed in more cerebral sports, what does that tell us about the underlying mechanisms?
This isn’t just a question about physical activity or its absence, or about the confounding correlations between social status, education, intelligence, wealth, and health. There is a growing line of evidence to suggest that associations between intelligence and longevity may be as much mediated by genetics as by greater odds of economic success and sustained better health practices. Natural variation in human longevity is an intensely complex subject, which is one of the many reasons that I’m more
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