Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nepalese Sherpas

The stamina that an older individual exhibits is dependent on his or her physical activities according to the findings of a study of Nepalese Sherpas. Residents of the (Himalayas, the Sherpas are justly famous for their service as guides on mountain climbing, and it was Sherpa Tensing Norgay who shared the honors with Sir Edmund Hilary in the first human conquest of Mt. Everest. As a result the Nepalese Sherpas have often been studied by scientists in order to determine the benefits of exercise. One particular study divided the Sherpas into two groups-the "high-activity" group and the "low-activity" group. The high-activity group was made up of males who were farmers, herders, and who worked occasionally as porters and guides. The low-activity group consisted of traders who moved from village to village. Both of the groups were examined at high altitudes (3,400 m). The study found higher levels of performance among the highly active at all ages. This suggests that at every age, overfed, affluent societies, such as the United States, probably develop and use only a fraction of their physical capacity and fail to achieve their full mental and physical potential.
Brocklehurst, J. C. Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1985.


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