The Joy of Laziness

Via Dick Puddlecote’s Link Tank I came across the Joy of Laziness:

In the Joy of Laziness, Michaela Axt-Gadermann and Peter Axt present scientific evidence suggesting that too much exercise leads to a shorter life. The authors are (former) champion athletes; Michaela is a medical doctor, and Peter a (retired) University researcher into health and fitness.

They present the results of research that shows:

  • Exercise can make you ill.
  • Being relaxed and even-tempered makes you more intelligent.
  • Fasting delays the ageing process and lengthens your life.
  • Sun and heat are the fountains of youth
  • ‘Doing nothing’ does a great deal of good.

Well, I can well remember feeling distinctly unwell after I’d got a few hundred yards into school cross country runs. And it was always quite impossible to think about anything while on those runs. Thought and physical exercise are mutually exclusive.

Elsewhere these reformed long-distance runners are reported as saying:

“A more relaxed way of life is important for your health,” said Dr Axt-Gadermann. “If you lead a stressful life and exercise excessively, your body produces hormones which lead to high blood pressure and can damage your heart and arteries.”

Dr Axt-Gadermann said that one key difference between the lazy and those who exercise was that the more active body produces more “free radicals” – unstable oxygen molecules that are believed to speed the ageing process.

She added: “Laziness is also important for a healthy immune system because special immune-cells are stronger in times of relaxation than stress. During relaxation or `down time’, your metabolism is less active, which means the body produces fewer free radicals.

“If you do a lot of sport or are permanently stressed, then your body will produce more free radicals and that is one reason why your life could be shortened.”Dr Axt-Gadermann, 37, and her 65-year-old father, who are both reformed long-distance runners, also say that laughing is healthier than running.

“When you laugh, your body produces the hormone serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed,” said Dr Axt-Gadermann.

Health fanatics can become exercise dependent, it seems:

Dr Jeremy Adams, a sport and exercise psychologist, says that exercise dependent people feel they must exercise every day. If prevented from doing so, they may suffer anxiety, mood swings and headaches. They may have irrational thoughts such as “If I don’t exercise today I will lose my fitness”. They may also exercise when injured. Most commonly, exercise dependence affects runners, aerobics fanatics and cyclists.

While drug dependence sets in within weeks, exercise dependence takes about two years to develop. Dr Adams says that over time, intense exercise elevates levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the brain uses to provide pleasurable feedback. To compensate for the higher levels, the number of dopamine receptors in the brain’s pleasure pathways are reduced. Then when an exercise dependent person can’t exercise, dopamine levels fall, causing distress.

And, obviously, sitting in a warm pub drinking beer and smoking cigarettes is a form of ‘doing nothing’, and is highly conducive to relaxed, even-tempered debate.

All of which reminds me that there are a few pages about me and Idle Theory in Tom Lutz’s Doing Nothing. Except I don’t think Idle Theory is about ‘doing nothing’, but is instead a least-action account of life, evolution, economics, ethics, and politics. According to Idle Theory, living things minimize work, and maximize idleness. It’s not the fittest that survive, but the idlest. But Idle Theory’s ‘idle time’ isn’t time in which people do nothing, but time in which they can do nothing. Idle time is free time. If you can do nothing, you can do anything. Idle Theory doesn’t offer any advice as to how to live an idle lifestyle, but instead offers an account of how the natural world of plants and animals and humans is governed throughout by the need to minimize action.

All of which further reminds me that I want to have a try at writing Idle Theory as a linear book, rather than the cloud of webpages it currently exists as, so as to present it as a unified idea.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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9 Responses to The Joy of Laziness

  1. Anonymous says:

    “… and on the 7th day you shall rest” (loosely translated from German “..und am 7. Tage sollt ihr ruhen”)
    Quite often my line of work does not allow for that but right now I am making up for it by lazing on my couch, watching my Christmas presents (All of the series “Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”)
    Inbetween episodes there is on or ten games of “Worms Armageddon” in order for the
    “When you laugh, your body produces the hormone serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed”
    and very little internet use. REAL life is refreshing!!!!
    Needless to say – idleness and everything else can WAIT!
    Hope everyone is having a relaxing, nice Boxing Day!

  2. Anonymous says:

    “… and on the 7th day you shall rest” (loosely translated from German “..und am 7. Tage sollt ihr ruhen”)
    Quite often my line of work does not allow for that but right now I am making up for it by lazing on my couch, watching my Christmas presents (All of the series “Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”)
    Inbetween episodes there is on or ten games of “Worms Armageddon” in order for the
    “When you laugh, your body produces the hormone serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed”
    and very little internet use. REAL life is refreshing!!!!
    Needless to say – idleness and everything else can WAIT!
    Hope everyone is having a relaxing, nice Boxing Day!

  3. Anonymous says:

    “… and on the 7th day you shall rest” (loosely translated from German “..und am 7. Tage sollt ihr ruhen”)
    Quite often my line of work does not allow for that but right now I am making up for it by lazing on my couch, watching my Christmas presents (All of the series “Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”)
    Inbetween episodes there is on or ten games of “Worms Armageddon” in order for the
    “When you laugh, your body produces the hormone serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed”
    and very little internet use. REAL life is refreshing!!!!
    Needless to say – idleness and everything else can WAIT!
    Hope everyone is having a relaxing, nice Boxing Day!

    • Anonymous says:

      btw: I can confirm this
      * Exercise can make you ill.
      * Being relaxed and even-tempered makes you more intelligent.
      * Fasting delays the ageing process and lengthens your life.
      * Sun and heat are the fountains of youth
      * ‘Doing nothing’ does a great deal of good.

  4. Anonymous says:

    btw: I can confirm this
    * Exercise can make you ill.
    * Being relaxed and even-tempered makes you more intelligent.
    * Fasting delays the ageing process and lengthens your life.
    * Sun and heat are the fountains of youth
    * ‘Doing nothing’ does a great deal of good.

  5. Anonymous says:

    btw: I can confirm this
    * Exercise can make you ill.
    * Being relaxed and even-tempered makes you more intelligent.
    * Fasting delays the ageing process and lengthens your life.
    * Sun and heat are the fountains of youth
    * ‘Doing nothing’ does a great deal of good.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have not been idle since lunchtime on Christmas Eve.
    Periodically, I inhabit my alter-ego as Mummy.
    My operations room and centre of the web, reverts to it’s previous use of child’s bedroom.
    The computer sleeps and all talk of tobacco research is silenced, by popular demand.
    This doesn’t mean that I can’t conduct the occasional quiet experiment though.
    For Boxing Day lunch, I am visited amongst other normal people, by a rabid anti-smoker.
    So far gone, that they have even been known to scream with rage on just seeing someone light up, as if they had been physically attacked.
    All cigarettes were extinguished half an hour before arrival, an essential oil burner set up with May Chang and a large bowl of satsumas placed in clear view to complete the illusion.
    May Chang
    Scent:
    “A fruity, intensely sweet, lemony scent”
    “It is a wonderful oil to lift the spirit and clear dark clouds of depression, anxiety and fear.”
    http://www.starchild.co.uk/products/6564_3403_may-chang-essential-oil.aspx
    Lunch went well,and afterwards, all guests who wished to smoke,walked outside of their own volition, to enjoy a breath of sub-zero air.
    ( It is not the tradition of this house, but anyone in their right mind walks very softly near a ticking timebomb )
    During the afternoon a gracious speech was given thanking everyone for smoking outside as they were thus not contaminated by a substance they had never consumed.
    ( I didn’t even say a word about the nicotine content of common vegetables, are you impressed? )
    After dark, smoking continued in the kitchen at my insistance, consideration is one thing, hypothermia quite another.
    However, for the second day running, I became an object of concern.
    I wasn’t smoking, I hadn’t even smoked the whole time.
    I wasn’t fidgeting, I was chatting and drinking coffee without a cigarette.
    Disturbing behaviour in an addict, who should rightly have been standing shivering outside my own house.
    When I was asked yet again, if I had given up smoking, I truthfully said that as I knew the plant science and I saw no need to bother.
    This just did not compute and was an obvious source of quiet concern throughout the evening.
    All in all, a very pleasant Boxing Day, no detonations, and coffee, tea, cigarettes and ashtrays brought after the All Clear, to the great relief of smokers and non-smokers alike.
    However,normal service has now resumed.
    There will be no more rushing around for a while, inertia enhances cerebral functioning in my experience.
    My exercise regime is modelled on my cat’s.
    He starts eating more around October,and puts on sufficient weight to battle through snow and ice.
    This continues until around March when he becomes far more active and the winter weight slowly melts away until he is a skinny, slinky creature about the beginning of July.
    Like the cat, exercise is something that happens to me when I’m busy doing something else.
    Joggers regularly pound past the bottom of my garden, the expressions of pain and exhaustion on their faces, should serve as a warning to us all.
    Rose

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have not been idle since lunchtime on Christmas Eve.
    Periodically, I inhabit my alter-ego as Mummy.
    My operations room and centre of the web, reverts to it’s previous use of child’s bedroom.
    The computer sleeps and all talk of tobacco research is silenced, by popular demand.
    This doesn’t mean that I can’t conduct the occasional quiet experiment though.
    For Boxing Day lunch, I am visited amongst other normal people, by a rabid anti-smoker.
    So far gone, that they have even been known to scream with rage on just seeing someone light up, as if they had been physically attacked.
    All cigarettes were extinguished half an hour before arrival, an essential oil burner set up with May Chang and a large bowl of satsumas placed in clear view to complete the illusion.
    May Chang
    Scent:
    “A fruity, intensely sweet, lemony scent”
    “It is a wonderful oil to lift the spirit and clear dark clouds of depression, anxiety and fear.”
    http://www.starchild.co.uk/products/6564_3403_may-chang-essential-oil.aspx
    Lunch went well,and afterwards, all guests who wished to smoke,walked outside of their own volition, to enjoy a breath of sub-zero air.
    ( It is not the tradition of this house, but anyone in their right mind walks very softly near a ticking timebomb )
    During the afternoon a gracious speech was given thanking everyone for smoking outside as they were thus not contaminated by a substance they had never consumed.
    ( I didn’t even say a word about the nicotine content of common vegetables, are you impressed? )
    After dark, smoking continued in the kitchen at my insistance, consideration is one thing, hypothermia quite another.
    However, for the second day running, I became an object of concern.
    I wasn’t smoking, I hadn’t even smoked the whole time.
    I wasn’t fidgeting, I was chatting and drinking coffee without a cigarette.
    Disturbing behaviour in an addict, who should rightly have been standing shivering outside my own house.
    When I was asked yet again, if I had given up smoking, I truthfully said that as I knew the plant science and I saw no need to bother.
    This just did not compute and was an obvious source of quiet concern throughout the evening.
    All in all, a very pleasant Boxing Day, no detonations, and coffee, tea, cigarettes and ashtrays brought after the All Clear, to the great relief of smokers and non-smokers alike.
    However,normal service has now resumed.
    There will be no more rushing around for a while, inertia enhances cerebral functioning in my experience.
    My exercise regime is modelled on my cat’s.
    He starts eating more around October,and puts on sufficient weight to battle through snow and ice.
    This continues until around March when he becomes far more active and the winter weight slowly melts away until he is a skinny, slinky creature about the beginning of July.
    Like the cat, exercise is something that happens to me when I’m busy doing something else.
    Joggers regularly pound past the bottom of my garden, the expressions of pain and exhaustion on their faces, should serve as a warning to us all.
    Rose

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have not been idle since lunchtime on Christmas Eve.
    Periodically, I inhabit my alter-ego as Mummy.
    My operations room and centre of the web, reverts to it’s previous use of child’s bedroom.
    The computer sleeps and all talk of tobacco research is silenced, by popular demand.
    This doesn’t mean that I can’t conduct the occasional quiet experiment though.
    For Boxing Day lunch, I am visited amongst other normal people, by a rabid anti-smoker.
    So far gone, that they have even been known to scream with rage on just seeing someone light up, as if they had been physically attacked.
    All cigarettes were extinguished half an hour before arrival, an essential oil burner set up with May Chang and a large bowl of satsumas placed in clear view to complete the illusion.
    May Chang
    Scent:
    “A fruity, intensely sweet, lemony scent”
    “It is a wonderful oil to lift the spirit and clear dark clouds of depression, anxiety and fear.”
    http://www.starchild.co.uk/products/6564_3403_may-chang-essential-oil.aspx
    Lunch went well,and afterwards, all guests who wished to smoke,walked outside of their own volition, to enjoy a breath of sub-zero air.
    ( It is not the tradition of this house, but anyone in their right mind walks very softly near a ticking timebomb )
    During the afternoon a gracious speech was given thanking everyone for smoking outside as they were thus not contaminated by a substance they had never consumed.
    ( I didn’t even say a word about the nicotine content of common vegetables, are you impressed? )
    After dark, smoking continued in the kitchen at my insistance, consideration is one thing, hypothermia quite another.
    However, for the second day running, I became an object of concern.
    I wasn’t smoking, I hadn’t even smoked the whole time.
    I wasn’t fidgeting, I was chatting and drinking coffee without a cigarette.
    Disturbing behaviour in an addict, who should rightly have been standing shivering outside my own house.
    When I was asked yet again, if I had given up smoking, I truthfully said that as I knew the plant science and I saw no need to bother.
    This just did not compute and was an obvious source of quiet concern throughout the evening.
    All in all, a very pleasant Boxing Day, no detonations, and coffee, tea, cigarettes and ashtrays brought after the All Clear, to the great relief of smokers and non-smokers alike.
    However,normal service has now resumed.
    There will be no more rushing around for a while, inertia enhances cerebral functioning in my experience.
    My exercise regime is modelled on my cat’s.
    He starts eating more around October,and puts on sufficient weight to battle through snow and ice.
    This continues until around March when he becomes far more active and the winter weight slowly melts away until he is a skinny, slinky creature about the beginning of July.
    Like the cat, exercise is something that happens to me when I’m busy doing something else.
    Joggers regularly pound past the bottom of my garden, the expressions of pain and exhaustion on their faces, should serve as a warning to us all.
    Rose

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