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:
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:
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.