A health warning

I seize with alacrity upon “studies” that confirm my long-held beliefs and prejudices. One of those was, and remains, my belief that physical exercise, especially in the form of vigorous gym workouts, jogging, and lane swimming, are a leading cause of physical illness, dementia, and premature death. Indeed, all my old friends who were exercise phanaticks have predeceased me, except for a few who have gone quite mad. The very desire for this kind of activity I take as an early indicator of mental disequilibration, and a possible death wish.

Now, the study I will flag this morning — here — I take as merely the tip of the iceberg. It only affects to show that exercise for the demented makes their conditions worse, and does that much with statistical moderation. My own vastly more comprehensive anecdotal observations consider the matter in its full scale and range, and explain it coherently.

Be it noted, the exercise phanaticks will often claim — perversely in their own defence — that they get a physical “high” from their labours. I do not doubt they are telling the truth. Rather, I suggest they have a grave addiction. Heroin users of my previous acquaintance — I never rejected them, they simply died off — could claim the same for themselves.

The Darwinists, notorious for mistaking their evolutionary causes, explain any human propensity to quick running and swimming by a just-so story about our ancestors’ lives. They imagine that in our primaeval state, we had often to outrun the beasts of land and sea, or climb trees to escape them; and that over time our gene pool was filled exclusively by the survivors.

But no. The same phenomena can be explained more plausibly by the recurrence of human eccentricities, in defiance of philosophical wisdom. (In theology, this is known as the Fall of Man.) It is my contention that the men of the Stone Age sought exercise more credibly by throwing rocks, and dodging moving objects. Hence our vestigial, urban delight in professional sports, which the great majority would rather watch than play. (In a more natural, country environment, everyone mucks in.)

Man did not, and could not, survive by outpacing the fiercer large animals, themselves designed for speed in the capture. Rather, he flourished by learning how to trick them. My suspicion is that the Darwinists have overlooked this point, and mentally enfeebled themselves, by their own inordinate indulgence in callisthenics and running.

The human body was itself designed for other purposes. At the centre of the scheme we find head and hands. See any proportional model of the human sensory and motor functions. (A “cortical homunculus,” I think this is called.) We are all mouth, bug-eyes, ears, and fingers extending from very big hands. These are mounted on indifferent limbs and connectors. We use what we have when we are on our game. Running is for lizards and leopards; and even they are wiser than to be running all the time; most of the day they just sun themselves. We have much more in common with the elephants, from whom, I speculate, we may have descended.

Nor, if gentle reader insists upon the monkeys, can they run very fast. Nor are all of them such efficient climbers; and those who seem to take workouts in the trees, are adapted to that function. Mostly they just sit about, or hang there. The monkeys can be clever, I own, but are hardly ever wise; perhaps our liberals are descended from them.

Still, I would not speak invidiously of monkeys. For even they know better than to participate in marathons and the like.