Being Lazy Doesn’t Mean Your a Bad Person

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Too many of us look at others and think they are no-good lazy people. Think about the person living on the streets or a friend who never seems to be able to keep their job. We see people who are struggling through life and instead of thinking about what external forces influenced how they ended up in dire straits we assume it has to do with their moral behaviour. E Price calls on us to take a holistic look at individuals when we accuse them of “immoral” laziness:

People love to blame procrastinators for their behavior. Putting off work sure looks lazy, to an untrained eye. Even the people who are actively doing the procrastinating can mistake their behavior for laziness. You’re supposed to be doing something, and you’re not doing it — that’s a moral failure right? That means you’re weak-willed, unmotivated, and lazy, doesn’t it?

For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.

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Get Fit Through Self-Motivation

A lot of people use the nice weather of the summer as motivation to get fit, however, keeping oneself motivated can be a problem. One approach that is gaining popularity is to change your motivation from positive-reinforemecnt to negative encouragement. Worth a try at the very least.

The basic message is as follows: In modern society we are coddling ourselves into a mushy mess. We get medals for just showing up. We’re inundated with messages about the importance of loving ourselves the way we are. We are told to give ourselves a break. According to RFBF author Ruth Field, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t much of a motivator.

The traditional you-can-do-it approach to exercise has never worked for me, nor has signing up for expensive gym memberships or designating a workout buddy. I fantasized about hiring a personal trainer in the mould of the Lou Gosset Jr. character in An Officer and A Gentleman, who would harass, browbeat and berate me into physical perfection. RFBR instructs readers to administer tough self-love; I wondered if I could be my own drill sergeant.

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Only 92 Minutes of Exercise needed to Extend Life

Researcchers have done something great for us lazy people: figured out the bare minimum amount of exercise needed to extend your life. The short answer is 92 minutes per week or 15 minutes per day.

Here’s some detail:

Compared with individuals in the inactive group, those in the low-volume activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 min per week (95% CI 71—112) or 15 min a day (SD 1·8), had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality (0·86, 0·81—0·91), and had a 3 year longer life expectancy. Every additional 15 min of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 min a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4% (95% CI 2·5—7·0) and all-cancer mortality by 1% (0·3—4·5). These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks. Individuals who were inactive had a 17% (HR 1·17, 95% CI 1·10—1·24) increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.

For the full report check out The Lancet.

Be Lazy When Waiting for the Bus

Waiting for a bus that never seems to come can be one of life’s more aggravating moments. No need to sit around getting all frustrated with underfunded services though. Thanks to the power of mathematics we now know that you should justbe lazy and sit and wait for the bus.

Scott Kominers, a mathematician at Harvard University, and his colleagues derived a formula for the optimal time that you should wait for a tardy bus at each stop en route before giving up and walking on. “Many mathematicians probably ponder this on their way to work, but never get round to working it out,” he says.

The team found that the solution was surprisingly simple. When both options seem reasonably attractive, the formula advises you to choose the “lazy” option: wait at the first stop, no matter how frustrating (www.arxiv.org/abs/0801.0297).

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