Clearly, if modern humans were going to exercise, it would have to be in their spare time. But would they? After his initial studies of occupations and heart attacks, Morris embarked on a large-scale study of British civil servants, to find out whether they did.
This was in the days before computers. Morris remembers: “I think of a room in this school, with the floor consisting of piles of documents. Men of this age, men of that age, men doing this kind of exercise or that. Going through all of these documents to extract the cyclists, then going through all the cyclists to extract those who cycle to work. Three very respectable ladies would spend days and days, and another lady would check they were not cutting corners. Changing a hypothesis now, in the computer age, is a matter of a twiddle on the knobs. Changing a hypothesis when we were doing important work was a major enterprise.”
Friday, September 11, 2009
"A cheese-and-tomato sandwich, a slice of cake and an orange juice"
Simon Kuper has a rather wonderful piece at the FT on epidemiologist Jerry Morris and the "invention" of exercise: