This being the 150th anniversity of the birth of two great contributors to the good of mankind namely Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, I am sure the latter would approve of some observations of the former. Darwin's theory was in direct opposition to the universal God theory of his day. Darwin knew his ideas would bring the wrath of the God theory adherents down on he and his family in unmerciful ways and so published his opinions perhaps 50 years after his world shaking evolution thinking. The curious Monk, Gregor Mandel added validity by experiences in his pea garden. Today we look around and try to decipher the past by clues of the present and that is what this blog is all about.
As an old man in horrible condition I decided to try to, "get in shape." I thought I had reached the end of my life because, with a little effort I nearly collapsed. I decided on running as my preferred method over calisthenics and weight exercises. A strange metamorphosis was the result with my not only getting in shape but excelling so that in 5 years I was selected as "Outstanding Athlete" in my age group, 85-89 in the U S for 2004 by the USATF(track and field). To which my wife jokingly said, "but that's only in the U S." It was that designation that raised many questions. How could that be? I was dieing 5 years ago. So began an unplanned for study about running. I did not recognize that I was investigating an important subject until recently when so many varied facts practically slapped me in the face. In the past I would take an idea to Dorothy, my wife. She had the wisdom to explain her pro or con reception and steer me in a productive direction. The facts concerning the health of runners was one such. It seemed incomprehensible to me that I could feel so young and vibrant and so interested in life than 5 years previously that I kept asking, why? Why do runners live an average of two to two and a half years longer than the non-runners? Why don't runners have more fractures from falling down than the average non-runners? A study from the Salk Institute in California suggested older running people actually create new neurons in their brains. Wow. Then it was reported that older runners virtually never developed the problem my mother died with, Alzheimer's disease. Then a study of hundreds of older humans showed less than half the number of deaths in a 20 year period among runners than in non-runners. Asking about ALS and was told no studies had been done but the Dr. questioned did not recall of a runner having had that problem. The same for Parkinson's. It suddenly hit me, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? and right under our noses. Why on earth should running make such a difference? Then I checked about other exercises and found none seemed to have the effect that running did. That included cycling, walking, golf etc. As late in life as I am in, I began to read Darwin's "Origin of Species" for the first time and I wondered how Mr. Darwin would explain the connection with inherited running ability and less disease in runners. For the inherited trait of running to be so well provided to all normal humans required thousands of years of genetic change. What environmental factors over an extended time necessary for the survival of the fittest to result in present day humans? Could it be that human bodily functions require running to function properly? If the flow of blood through our internal organs required those organs to function properly by increase blood flow from time to time and that flow did not happen, could wastes build up that could do harm? Does that mean that most medications humans take are to replace the lack of the exercise necessary for normalcy? Could it be that it took 100 years for that observation to be accepted? My book waiting for a publisher, "Come Run with Me" could be a landmark book. Again, what do you think? ahmen.