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Friday, April 28, 2017

The Lazy Millennial Guide to Avoid Exercise

Biology is catching up to technology. Or maybe it's the other way around.

I don’t know a single person who actually enjoys exercise. Who would rather pick heavy things up and put them back down again over and over until they’re in pain and out of breath rather than watch Netflix with a beer, a snack, and a fluffy blanket? I think the internet made those exercise lovers up to trick us all into thinking it was cool to like exercise, because there’s no other way we’d do it except for vanity and bragging rights.

Where is evolution in all this technological advancement? Do we get the benefits of 50 push-ups with an app? No.I refuse to be brainwashed. In fact, I’m anti-exercise to the point where I tell my friends to quit working out. They’re beautiful as they are, and it’s tiring to hear about all their work. But I do want the benefits of working out – the vanity and desire for bragging rights is still a thing. I just don’t want to do the actual work part.

Technology is giving us incredible opportunities for advancement in every way, every day. You see a new invention or improvement every time you go outside or online. Tech is constantly adapting to our new ways of life, and determining our new ways of life.

Where is evolution in all this? The vast majority of us aren’t out hunting and gathering to survive: we go to the grocery store to buy food that has conveniently been raised and farmed for us, with technology that makes those jobs easier too. We don’t have to migrate with the food supplies or the seasons. We don’t even have to walk to work. But do we get the benefits of 50 push-ups with an app? Do we get six-pack abs from sitting at work and our living rooms? Do we get our heart rates up to a high enough rate, long enough, by searching through Netflix?

No. Our bodies still need to be exercised to stay in peak condition as if we were peasants.

Darwin let us down. He didn’t invent evolution, of course, but it was his idea so he gets the blame when it doesn’t happen fast enough. Jeremy from the comic strip Zits and I are totally agreed about this.

However, it turns out that some of this technology we’re inventing and improving allows us to understand our own bodies better than we have before. And it turns out that there are actually a lot of ways to stay healthy and even improve your health without going to the gym, and without dieting. For real. I’m not saying you’ll look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s a start. And if you don’t want to look like him anyway, you’re in luck.

Here are five recent health discoveries, some better known, some pretty new, that we owe to technology-driven science:

Black Coffee

Let’s start with a familiar one. Black coffee is basically a gift from on high, sent to raise us from the dead each morning and level-up our bodies and brains. Part of that is due to its natural drug, caffeine, but a lot is from the coffee itself.

The science behind all this is fascinating, but rather than spend six pages writing about it all, I’ll just skip to the chase. Coffee is good for:

  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants
  • Preventing Type 2 diabetes
  • Protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Lowering the risk of getting Parkinson’s
  • Protecting the liver from disease
  • Fighting depression and reducing the risk of suicide
  • Lowering the risk of getting liver and colorectal cancer
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease in women
  • Preventing stroke
  • Literally keeping you from premature death

Which all leads me to think that Miracle Max’s miracle pill in The Princess Bride was really just a giant espresso bean coated with chocolate.


Ever since we realized that drinking red wine isn’t actually that healthy (one of the definite downsides to advancing science understanding), we’ve needed a replacement. We found champagne, and it’s so much more exciting than red wine that I’m totally fine with giving up the red wine.

Granted, we need to do some more research – especially given the natural risks that come with alcohol – but it looks like champagne helps prevent age-related memory loss, and dementia, and seems to improve spatial memory, navigation, and some brain cell regeneration.

Of course, if you drink too much, it’ll wreck your memory. So don’t think New Year’s Eve improved your brain.

Ice Cream for Breakfast

If this one turns out to be too good to be true, I will be very sad.

A recent study examining brain activity found that people who ate ice cream first thing in the morning had better reaction times, higher mental alertness, reduced mental irritation, and better information processing than people who had either not consumed anything or had simply had cold water.

Someone needs to do a study on champagne ice cream and coffee sundaes and get back to me.

Hot Baths

One hour in a 104-degree bath burns as many calories as a half-hour walk. No kidding.I hate running more than any other exercise in the entire world. Everything about it is horrible. Thankfully, hot baths are a way around it.

If your bathwater is 104 degrees Fahrenheit and you sit in it for an hour, you’ll burn 130 calories. That’s the same as walking for half an hour. Relaxing in a bath will also lower your blood sugar and blood pressure, increase your heart rate (cardio!), improve circulation, blood flow, breathing, and immunity, reduce pain and inflammation, calm the nervous system, increase the “happy” chemical serotonin, and balance some hormones. Imagine what would happen if you drank coffee or champagne while in the bath!


After your extremely healthy bath, you can do this next “exercise”: go to sleep.

Sleep is absolutely critical to both mental and physical health. You can survive without food (about 21 days) longer than you can without sleep (about 11 days). By now we’re all pretty aware of the dozens of adverse effects of sleep deprivation, so rather than ticking them all off, let’s switch back to technology.

The New York Times recently ran an article looking into all the ways entrepreneurs are trying to improve our sleep: MIT is trying to find the ideal sleep environment. UC Berkeley is trying to cure sleeplessness in aging brains with direct current stimulation. A computer science engineer in Paris has created a headband that uses sound waves to lull you to sleep. An entrepreneur in Australia invented goggles that use tiny lights to reset your body clock, as well as a kind of ring that disrupts your sleep every three minutes for the hour before you fall asleep, as a cure for sleep disruption. There are even sleep fairs to teach you how to improve your sleep. There are tons of people trying to help you nap!

So, if you don’t have the time or motivation to actually hit the gym (or even just work out at home), rest assured you’re not necessarily slowly killing yourself. There will always be benefits to “real” exercise that these and other things won’t replace, but at least real exercise isn’t the only way to keep your body relatively healthy.

But I’m still waiting for a six-pack app.