Those Old Left Wing Armchair Socialists Actually Get Out Quite A Bit

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. Monika Graff/Getty Images

So called left wing armchair socialists are actually more physically active than political centrists, a study has found.

People on both ends of the political spectrum spent more time engaged in vigorous physical activity every week than people with no political affiliation, according to an Australian researchers.

An analysis of survey results from more than 29,000 people from 32 European countries found suggests that the term armchair socialist, which refers to someone who talks about socialism rather than does anything to bring about change, is a bit of a misnomer.

The research, by Professor Adrian Bauman of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health and colleagues, is published in the Christmas issue of the British medical journal, The BMJ.

The term “armchair socialist” was coined in the 19th century by German economists who scoffed at academics advocating social policy, calling them Kathedersozialisten (socialists of the chair).

There are now many variations of the term including “limousine liberal”, “chardonnay socialist”, “champagne socialist” and “armchair revolutionary”.

“Our findings refute the existence of an armchair socialist,” write the researchers. “Busy people at both ends of the political spectrum do not seem to have as much time for idleness.”

The higher physical activity levels reported by political extremists suggest that they might be out “agitating in the field, mobilising the community, and actively distributing ideas and propaganda”, they say.

“It is those sitting in the middle (politically) that are truly inactive, and may be sitting more (both on the fence and elsewhere), making them a defined at-risk group.”

“The politically uncommitted and centrists should consider adopting a stronger political stance for their health. This may also reduce their sitting time, particularly if they shift their views to the right.”

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