There are days when we feel like we can conquer the world and wake up raring to go. We’re attentive at meetings, ready to knock out assignments, gloriously ticking off things on our to-do lists at a fast-and-furious clip. But for the most part, our days aren’t that productive and we’re putting out more lulls than energy. But that’s OK. Because science says so.
That’s right, lazy people of the world — according to a study out of Simon Fraser University, we’re just born this way. Scientists say that we’re wired to save energy, streamlining movements to make them as simple as possible.
Jessica Selinger, a PhD student in the Locomotion Laboratory (cool-sounding place to work, no?), was developing a high-tech energy-harvesting knee brace when she got sidetracked by a more fundamental question: Why do people move the way they move?
Their study looked at the way people walked, but said their idea probably applies to other types of exercise.
“Those who spend hours at the gym with the aim of burning as many calories as possible may be disappointed to learn that your nervous system is subconsciously working against you,” said a spokesperson for the team.
Once they fitted adults with equipment to make walking more difficult, the study participants changed their gait to the path of least resistance — despite having established their own particular walking style over decades, the team told journal Current Biology.
“The nervous system monitors energy use and continuously re-optimizes movement patterns in a constant quest to move as cheaply as possible,” said researcher Max Donelan. “Optimizing energy use that quickly is impressive. You have to be smart to be that lazy.”
Smart and lazy? We’ll take it!