UBC Study Shows Humans Are Lazy, But It’s The Brain’s Fault

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How many times haven’t you planned to go for a long walk instead of picking that remote and chill on the couch? If you’ve struggled but failed to be more active, a researcher from the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that it’s all because of what’s inside the brain.

The lead author of the study Matthieu Boisgontier and his colleagues from UBC and a team of international researchers wanted to find more answers the “exercise paradox.”

Even though we know exercise is good for us, the population seems to have become less active.

Researchers studied why this happened and reached a conclusion:

Our brains are wired for us to be lazy!

They published their findings in Neuropsychologia. Boisgontier, who is a postdoctoral researcher in the brain behavior lab at the department of physical therapy (UBC) explains that:

“Conserving energy has been essential for humans’ survival, as it allowed us to be more efficient in searching for food and shelter, competing for sexual partners, and avoiding predators. The failure of public policies to counteract the pandemic of physical inactivity may be due to brain processes that have been developed and reinforced across evolution.”

The study used young adults to participate in a test. They had to control an avatar seen on the screen. Whenever they saw small images with physical activity, they had to quickly move the avatar towards it. When seeing images with physical inactivity, they had to quickly move away from them. Then, they had to do it the other way around.

Electrodes recorded the brain activity and showed that participants were fast in moving their avatar towards the physical activity photos and away from the physical inactivity photos, but reading the brain activity, researchers showed that moving away from lazy photos required the brain to work harder.

Boisgontier concluded that

“The exciting novelty of our study is that it shows this faster avoidance of physical inactivity comes at a cost — and that is an increased involvement of brain resources. These results suggest that our brain is innately attracted to sedentary behaviours.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere