"Einstein's Pedometer" Tracks Subtle Benefit of Exercise: How Much Time Slows as You Move

By Valerie Ross | April 12, 2011 9:46 am

walking
I feel younger already!

If all those vague exercise benefits like heart health and improved mood aren’t enough to get you moving, maybe this will be: By taking that morning stroll, you’re slowing down the rate at which you’re aging and netting yourself extra time—whole picoseconds of it. And you know it’s true, because Einstein said so.

A corollary of the special theory of relativity, called time dilation, says that time will pass at a slower rate for something moving compared to something standing still; the faster the moving thing (in this case, you) moves, the more the rate at which time passes slows. So, you’ll age more slowly meandering around your neighborhood at three miles an hour than you would back home on the couch, and even more slowly if you up that walk to a jog.

There is, of course, an app for this, called Einstein’s Pedometer. It tracks your location via your iPhone’s GPS, does some fancy math on it, and voila, tells you how much time you gained. Just make sure you wear some sunscreen while you’re out for your stroll; you don’t want any wrinkles disguising the fact that you’ve aged trillionths of a second less than all your friends.

  • Jim Johnson

    Wouldn’t this mean that if you stroll in an Westerly direction, you’d actually age faster? As your movement actually subtracts from the speed imparted on your body by the spin of the earth? All those picoseconds lost by hippies moving to California in the 60′s! Oh, the humanity!

  • StrangerTides

    Using a treadmill doesn’t gain you anything I suppose…

  • Paula Jones

    Well, Stranger Tides, the article simply says ‘moving’ and being on a treadmill means moving so…If you have an iphone give it a shot and let us know what the app says!
    And, Jim Johnson, I enjoyed your comment – lol!

  • zubby

    thats the more reason why humans should build faster space crafts, that way a trip 2 andromeda and back will take 8yrs travelling at the speed of light, while life on earth wud hv gone by 80yrs or so, u wud come back and be younger than ur grankids!

  • Vex

    @3 Paula Jones:
    Sorry, but I’m not so sure – you are moving on a treadmill, but staying in the same place in relation to anything else around you.

    And since the iphone app uses the phone’s GPS to track your location, it would have no way of knowing if you were running on a treadmill or sitting on your couch watching reruns.

  • G

    I’ve always been curious about the effect that long term space travel will have on the evolution of our race. If we overcome the substantial technological barriers and find a way to go to nearby solar systems at velocities approaching the speed of light on fully self-sufficient vehicles… the returning voyagers (assuming they have the chance to return and choose to do so) would come back to a place quite different than the place they left.
    Will they be welcomed back?
    Will they be viewed as holdovers of a bygone era?
    Will they be forgotten by the very people that sent them?
    Will they ever be able to feel at home in their birthplace?
    Will there be an app for that too?

  • Snazz

    Lets see how this app responds to me doing laps around my neighborhood in my car.

  • http://www.twitter.com merrypranxter

    what about moving in a car? wouldn’t that do just as good?

  • jexlude

    Yea, Snazz/ Merry Pranxter, First thing I thought of was getting on the Expressway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Hensley/100001712793275 Elizabeth Hensley

    There is an outtake from Star Trek the Next Generation where Data takes a flashlight and examines a sign on the side of a sleeper ship. In Jame’s Stewart’s voice he exclaims, “Mary! This thing was built in Bedford Falls!”

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »