THE PERSON Who Invented Exercise


THE PERSON Who Invented Exercise

In the early years following the second world war, health analysts in Britain observed a wondering epidemic: people acquired begun dying of center episodes in unprecedented numbers. Nobody knew why, and so a scientist in London called Jerry Morris create a vast study to look at the heart-attack rates in folks of different occupations – schoolteachers, postmen, transport employees and more.

Morris is today a neat, bird-like man who runs on the cane to get around. He becomes 100 next May but still regularly makes his way to his poky little office at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It really is here that he describes your day he saw the info that changed medicine.

“The 1st results we got were from the London busmen,” says Morris, in ­Glaswegian tones undimmed by seven-odd years in London. “And there is a striking difference in the heart-attack rate. The data were so telling because drivers and conductors were men of quite similar cultural class. There was only 1 obvious difference between them.

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“The drivers were prototypically sedentary,” explains Morris, “and the conductors were unavoidably active. We spent many hours sitting on the buses watching the amount of stairs they climbed. ” The conductors ascended and descended 500 to 750 steps per working day. Plus they were half as likely as the drivers to drop dead of an abrupt heart attack.

Today, almost everyone understands that physical exercise can assist in preventing heart disease, as well as tumor, diabetes, depression and much else besides. But on that day in 1949 when Morris viewed the bus data, he was the first person to see the link. He had inadvertently – “mainly luck!

” – stumbled on a great truth about health: exercise can help you live longer. That’s a truth more relevant in ’09 2009 than it was in 1949 even, because so few of us perform strenuous physical duties as part of daily life now. If present generations longer are going to live, we must exercise. But if that depends on us getting on rowing machines in our free time, it won’t happen.

Morris is not simply a man with a mission – he could be a guy with several missions. But since reading those true figures about busmen, he has wanted to help everyone exercise more. We would live lives something like his Then. Morris grew up in the lost world of the Southside of ­Glasgow “in a two-bedroom-and-kitchen house, father, mother and three boys”, he recalls.

“We were nearby to a slum street. I still remember the screaming women on Friday evening and Saturday evening, when these were beaten by their drunk husbands. He started working out in early youth. “My dad used to take me on the four-mile walk from Glasgow once a week, while i was a schoolboy. We used to aim to do the four mls within an full hour.

If we did that OK, An ice-cream was got by me. If we achieved it in a minute less even, A choc-ice was got by me. “Many years later, when I became interested in these things, I challenged him, and he had no basic idea where he got this four miles one hour from. I was looking forward to a quote, you observe.