Why is nature so lazy

The bastard - are we humans too lazy to exercise by nature?

We humans are getting fatter and lazy (according to WHO). But why is it like that? Are people naturally too lazy to exercise? Does this bastard really exist? Not every marathon has to be run, but it can't be that difficult to incorporate a bit of exercise into everyday life. Today I'm taking a look at the phenomenon of laziness. I am interested in what research says about the "laziness of people":

Do you know the following phenomenon: It's evening, you've been sitting in the office all day and your head is actually telling you: Get off the couch and do sports. But your body says: NO, I don't want to. A dilemma - how should one be able to decide here? Are you a victim of your instincts? Or is it just a matter of the head?

Our children tell us who we really are.

Let's take a look at our children: have you ever observed that children cannot sit still? You have a natural urge to move that can hardly be tamed - laziness is the maximum when it comes to bothersome duties, such as tidying up rooms. Children are movement-loving researchers, climbers and runners. In terms of development, it is important for them to gain as much experience as possible and to acquire the best possible physical skills. It is all the more necessary not to interfere in the development of babies and toddlers so that they learn to fail, to fall, to find solutions and to get up again. This ensures that children survive and find their way in our world. At some point the nervous system is so mature that the physical urge to develop gives way to the mental and unfortunately we move less and less. We are a couch potato culture. At the latest in school, "obedience" is trained, movement with sitting still is trained and sport is artificially imposed again in the gymnastics lessons.

A look at human history- the concept of laziness:

The word idleness is actually a rather negative term. This is probably due to the fact that laziness or indolence is the 7th mortal sin in Christianity. The church interpreted laziness as dislike of God. In very religious times, hard work was a sign of a godly life. In the times of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant criticized the population with a lack of intellectual ability and physical action and spoke of laziness here too. In the 19th century Paul Lafargue wrote the book "The Right to be Lazy". He called for people to refrain from too much zeal for work and criticized the basic capitalist idea of ​​work addiction.

Are we all bastards? Is laziness genetic?

According to my research, this is probably not absolutely clear. I found a (meager) report from 2006 [1], where a study indicates that the “couch potato” gene is responsible for this.

On the other hand, in 2015 [2] brain researcher Gerald Hüther denied that there was a connection between laziness and genetics.

Too bad, it would have been too easy: “My genetics are to blame for the fact that I don't want to move.” As with “genetic obesity”, not everything can only be attributed to the genes, but everyone is their own master in matters of fate. Perhaps there is a genetic "overweight tendency", but this can only be blamed to a small extent.

What I can say, however, is definitely confirmed: Man is naturally lazy because his instincts get it that way. Read on:

People are geared towards saving time and energy: this ensures their survival.

Numerous processes in our universe and our body indicate that we tend to carry out movements and metabolic processes as efficiently as possible in terms of time and energy. We know from physics that "Law of inertia“: The body remains in its state (of rest or movement) as long as it is not forced to another state from outside. So if atoms and molecules tend to be inert, why shouldn't it be humans who - by the way - also consist of atoms and molecules?

Evolution has taught us that the survival of prehistoric man is through a kind of "Urge for efficiency“Was secured. Unlike today, food was not in abundance. Thus, the body had to fight through with a reduced energy supply, but with the best possible performance available (e.g. hunting, preservation of body heat in the cold). He has developed a highly intelligent system in which we can survive, for example, in the event of a lack of food (fasting period) without suddenly falling dead just because we have not eaten for 1 day.

During the period of abstinence from eating, the body uses other energy sources from its own stores (fat, muscles). By reducing the muscles, he burns fewer calories in the long term and can thus last longer.

No prejudice against the bastard: the search for the path of least resistance is normal!

In a Canadian study [3] it was proven that the body always has the Seeks the path of least resistance. The drive for efficiency was tested on the basis of running tests. Subjects were prevented by an exoskeleton from performing an economically normal running movement. An exoskeleton is a rail system that measures and can influence the movement processes.

The results showed that the Body is looking for the fastest route despite splints that prevent efficiency, new movements as energy-saving as possible perform. We know it from training: a new exercise that we have never done before always feels very strange and strenuous at first. With the number of repetitions, our technique also improves, the body worked more economically. It was shown in this experiment that the test persons had found a new optimum movement after just a few minutes, despite the “handicap” of running economy. The resulting energy savings always accounted for around 5%.

This proved that our nervous system always seeks the path of least resistance in order to work as energy-efficiently as possible.

The contradiction: humans are animals in motion vs. lazy

On the one hand, people strive to be lazy, on the other hand, our body is designed for movement and is the only way to keep it healthiest. Our joints, the cardiovascular system and muscles all show the same pattern: With exercise you stay fitter in the long term.

Basically it is also true: In evolution, movement was important for obtaining food and for protection (flight or attack). When you live in a cave, collect wood for fire and butcher the next mammoth yourself, there is a lot of physical work to do. Our body is adapted to this work. Today we just have to go to the supermarket and turn on the central heating. We move less, which plays into the cards of our instincts. We have a need for optimization in all areas: to achieve as little energy as possible with as little resistance and in the shortest possible time.

So it is clearly clear: Had the Neanderthal man had the choice, he would certainly have been scruffy with chips on the couch instead of standing on the cross trainer for 1 hour, right? This behavior would certainly have proven to be more successful between times of hunger and cold winter months to save energy. The question now arises: Do lazy people become more intelligent? One study says yes - lazy people ALSO can solve problems more efficiently and save physical energy at the same time. Personally, I sometimes doubt that the intelligence is reflected in dominant laziness ...

READING TIP: It is precisely because of our instincts that beginners have a hard time. A rusted body is also painful when put back into motion. You can read HERE why it is difficult for beginners in particular.

So we have made it clear that we humans are by nature sluggish, or rather: oriented towards saving energy. Is that a reason for not doing any more sport?

Reality check: a look into the future of lazy society:

Who knows, maybe in 10,000 years human genes will have adapted to a new BMI. However, evolution has shown us that uneconomical animal species simply died out. There was one species of people that supposedly died out because of laziness and who knows, maybe it won't be the last. The question is therefore, does evolution find a way to "eliminate" excess weight or to deal with it? It would of course be exciting to look into the future 🙂

I wouldn't take it down on it. Drive or not, we have to take our health into our own hands, do sports, eat better. The body - my enemy, that's why we like to call this instinct of laziness "bastard". Actually unjustified, because this drive was the only reason why Homo Sapiens survived. We are all experts in saving energy.

The solution - overcome the weaknesses despite urges:

A study has shown that “lazy” behavior can be outwitted by our environment. Means if my environment is sporty, so am I. Perhaps this is due to our “herd behavior” that we tend to do what the crowd does. So if you have goals, you should look for a sporty environment.

Reading tip: Sport in everyday life - 17 strategies how you can do it in the long term:

My conclusion: You are responsible for your own actions!

It is up to us to break out of the pathologically "lazy" system - not the others are to blame for your failure, but only you.

Everyone can be lazy, we humans have to be allowed to do that, nevertheless: find your way, how you get activity and calm in balance. It includes both: being lazy and doing sports - yin and yang, day and night - it's all a question of balance :).


[1] https://rp-online.de/panorama/wissen/faulheit-gende-in-den-genen_aid-11214587 23.5.2019

[2] https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftswissen/interview-mit-hirnforscher-gerald-huether-erst-die-arbeit-macht-uns-zu-menschen-13963189.html 23.5.2019

[3] https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)00958-6

[4] https://de.wordssidekick.com/laziness-is-contagious-scientists-find-21302 May 24, 2019

[5] https://mobil.stern.de/neon/neue-studie-haben–faule-menschen-sind-intelligenter-7361540.html May 25, 2019