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Tsimané people do around six hours’ exercise every day

The Tsimané people of the Bolivian Amazon have the healthiest hearts in the world, according to a study published in the Lancet. One of the researchers who has been studying their lifestyle has suggested that cycling to work could be one way in which people could gain similar benefits.

The Tsimané don’t cycle, of course – but they are incredibly active. The BBC reports that the men average 17,000 steps a day, the women 16,000 and even the over-60s achieve a step count of over 15,000.

2,000 steps translates to walking about a mile, so they’re covering some ground. "They achieve a remarkable dose of exercise," said Dr Gregory Thomas.

Thomas’s colleague, Michael Gurven, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara, said that it could be that people need to do far more activity than at present. He put the emphasis on making lifestyle changes rather than just taking part in regular exercise.

"I would say we need a more holistic approach to physical exercise rather than just at the weekend,” he said. "Bicycle to work, take the stairs."

Thomas added: "The modern world is keeping us alive, but urbanisation and the specialisation of the labour force could be new risk factors.”

Recreational and commuter cycling appear to reduce heart attack risk according to two recent studies

The Tsimané have hardly any hardening of their arteries and heart attacks and strokes are almost unknown.

Their diet is also radically different from the Western one. It is high in unrefined carbohydrates (72 per cent of their calories) with only 14 per cent of calories from sugar and fat.

You may want to draw the line at intestinal worms, however. These are far more common in the Tsimané and it has been suggested that they could be dampening immune reactions and helping to protect their arteries.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

7 comments

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ktache [627 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Currently 18-20 K on a work day, according to my Wii U fit thingy.  It does not understand cycling.

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ironlung [2 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

It's a really interesting study, but I have absolutely no idea how they got ethical approval for it. 705 CT scans on healthy people who didn't have coronary artery disease and therefore didn't stand to benefit from having the scans - statistically there's about a 50:50 chance that they gave one of the participants cancer from the x-rays involved in the CT scans! I'd love to see the consent forms they used and whether the Tsimane really understood that...

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stomec [31 posts] 9 months ago
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ironlung wrote:

It's a really interesting study, but I have absolutely no idea how they got ethical approval for it. 705 CT scans on healthy people who didn't have coronary artery disease and therefore didn't stand to benefit from having the scans - statistically there's about a 50:50 chance that they gave one of the participants cancer from the x-rays involved in the CT scans! I'd love to see the consent forms they used and whether the Tsimane really understood that...

 

hi ironlung interesting stat on the Ct scan - where did you get it from?  thanks 

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hawkinspeter [1123 posts] 9 months ago
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ironlung wrote:

It's a really interesting study, but I have absolutely no idea how they got ethical approval for it. 705 CT scans on healthy people who didn't have coronary artery disease and therefore didn't stand to benefit from having the scans - statistically there's about a 50:50 chance that they gave one of the participants cancer from the x-rays involved in the CT scans! I'd love to see the consent forms they used and whether the Tsimane really understood that...

Interesting but still a low dose. Here's a handy XKCD infographic on radiation doses (chest CT scan is listed here as 7mSv):

https://xkcd.com/radiation/

 

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hawkinspeter [1123 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
ironlung wrote:

It's a really interesting study, but I have absolutely no idea how they got ethical approval for it. 705 CT scans on healthy people who didn't have coronary artery disease and therefore didn't stand to benefit from having the scans - statistically there's about a 50:50 chance that they gave one of the participants cancer from the x-rays involved in the CT scans! I'd love to see the consent forms they used and whether the Tsimane really understood that...

According to https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/ct-scans-fact-sheet they state a 1 in 2000 chance of getting a fatal cancer from a CT scan, so 705 scans is closer to a 1 in 3 chance that this study gave someone cancer.

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hoski [95 posts] 8 months ago
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But not interested enough to contact the researchers...?

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Harmanhead [62 posts] 8 months ago
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