In our book and in some of our blog posts, we’ve discussed the benefits of regular physical activity. The data can’t be ignored. Even among people who smoke regularly, those who work out on a regular basis benefit from a significantly reduced risk of many different diseases, including heart disease and lung cancer. No, I’m not suggesting that you should go smoke. What I’m saying is that if at this time you choose not to quit, then at the very least take up exercise (and improve your diet). If you’ve already quit, then you should still exercise.
I recently came across a story from England about a 66 year old man named David Jeffries, whose claim to fame is that despite smoking multiple packs a day, and not having consumed a single fruit or vegetable in a decade, he says that he feels great. He admits to having suffered 2 heart attacks a decade ago (blaming them on bad genes rather than to his smoking or diet…). However, since then, despite a daily diet of fried potatoes, cured meats, and chocolate, Mr. Jeffries sports a 28 inch waist and has plenty of energy.
What is his secret? Exercise. What is his daily routine?
“’I sit in my armchair, put on some loud obnoxious music and I just punch and kick the air for around 20 minutes. It’s quite something to witness and people don’t understand what I’m doing, but it works all my joints and muscles and I think its the secret to my great physical form… Then every morning I run the quarter of a mile down to the shop to get a newspaper.”
He claims that his pulse barely goes up when running. In addition, he spends time gardening (presumably a flower garden since he avoids fruits and veggies).
What’s the take home message? No, I don’t recommend that you imitate Mr. Jeffries’s professed smoking and dietary habits. But at least exercise; even if you could still stand to improve other health habits, commit yourself to some physical activity daily. It really can help keep you alive longer and will hopefully offset the negative effects of other less-than-ideal lifestyle choices.