U BoltI have come across several conflicting ideas about the relation of speed and longevity recently. In Eric Sloane, the idea is that the slowest animals live the longest, but several studies show that that the fastest runners live the longest. I wonder how this would be resolved in the real world of markets. Speed and distance, and lifespan would seem to be helpful concepts to untwine.

Dylan Distasio adds:

Typically, larger animals have longer natural lifespans. This is likely related to their lower base metabolic rates (a smaller mammal is going to have a faster metabolism to offset greater loss of body heat). The most obvious analogy would be market cap and the idea that larger companies are slower to shift course.

Another factor is how prodigious the species is at reproducing. High fecundity usually means a shorter lifespan. Is there an analogy to this in the markets? If we use our imaginations, perhaps. Maybe an area of the market with many competitive companies, and a low barrier for entry like the Internet space.

For those who are gluttons for punishment, there is scientific journal article on body size, metabolism and lifespan that may be worth untangling.

Scott Brooks recalls:

I saw a special on either Discovery Channel about heart rate. They did a comparison between many animals and the number of heart beats they had in a lifetime. The one that stick out in my mind was the difference between some kind of mouse and an elephant. The difference in life expectancy was quite substantial in terms of years, but the average number of total heart beats between birth and death was essentially equal.

This didn't hold up for all species, but there were some striking similarities between mammalian species and heart beats.

If this is true, then am I using up my "lifetime heartbeats" each time I work out?

I know that my family doesn't live particularly long, with most dying at or near average life expectancy. I also know that for my entire life, my resting heart rate has been in the upper 80s or low 90s. I've worked diligently to get it lower, but it doesn't come down. When I exercise, I get my heart rate up into the 160s or 170s — if I'm really working our hard, then I'll get it up into the 180s or 190s.

Am I using up my heartbeats?

Marion Dreyfus reassures:

When I worked for the giant ad agency J Walter Thompson, the physican onstaff, with whom I consulted about all of my copy, used to tell me: "I have grown old walking in the funeral corteges of those more fit than I."

Kim Zussman, on the other hand, enjoys frightening people:

Don't forget, the healthier your heart (and the longer you go without heart attack) — the more likely you are to die of cancer.

Low fat diet, exercise, contol of blood pressure/blood sugar, have much bigger effect in forestalling heart disease than cancer.


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