Why Intelligent People Struggle with Exercise
Despite the innumerable resolutions you have made in the past, if you have been unable to create an exercise routine or stick to one, unlike your friends, no worries! – it may just mean you are more intelligent than them!
New research from a US-based study highlights an unusual trend – the physical sacrifice behind thinking! The researchers set out to discover the link between thinking and physical activity in the everyday lives of people. To their amazement, they discovered that the cleverer you are, the less tendency for you to be active!
People with Higher Intelligence Don’t Get Bored Easily
This study supports the theory that people with higher intelligence don’t get bored easily and they spend more time physically lazing around while engaged in active thought. Their active counterparts, on the other hand, seem to require physical stimulation of their minds using external activities as they get bored quickly.
The Study of ‘Thinkers’ and ‘Non-thinkers’
Led by Todd McElroy from the Florida Gulf Coast University, a group of researchers conducted a test about three decades ago! A group of students were asked to fill out a ‘need for cognition’ questionnaire that required its participants to rate how strongly they agreed with the given statements such as “I really enjoy a task that involves coming up with new solutions to problems,” and “I only think as hard as I have to.”
Based on the answers, the researchers chose 30 ‘thinkers’ and 30 ‘non-thinkers’ from among the participants. The selected candidates were asked to wear a wrist device, an accelerometer, that tracked their movements and activity levels. By analyzing this constant stream of data, the researchers were able to discover that during the 5-day work week, the thinking group was far less active than the non-thinkers. But the activity levels during the weekends showed no difference between the two groups.
The researchers suggested that non-thinkers were more physically active as their minds could not keep them occupied, so they turn to physical activities to overcome boredom and fill their time.
The Downside to Being Brainier
Mr. McElroy warned brainier people that they should watch out for the negative impact of their lazier and sedentary lifestyles. No matter how clever you are, to maintain and improve your health, you must increase your overall activity levels.
One way for people with higher intelligence to overcome their tendency towards laziness is to appeal to their own intelligence. If they are more aware of their own lack of physical activity and of the health cost associated with inactivity, then these thoughtful people are usually able to change their mindsets and choose to be more active.
A Word of Caution
This is definitely an interesting study that could offer the thinkers some justification, but the results are best taken with a grain of salt due to the small sample of participants in the study. As it featured just 60 people, the result may be confined to a specific culture or just the student population in that culture and, as a generalisation, probably does not extend to non-students or to other cultures.
Cognition or our way of thinking can influence our physical activity levels. Irrespective of the above-mentioned study results, there is surely enough scientific evidence that points to the adverse health effects of a sedentary life.
Many people assume that a quick visit to the gym will solve these problems. But that’s not the case. Though the gym visits do help, raising your overall daily activity level is more important. Maintaining an ideal balance of physical activity not just improves your physical health, it improves your mental health and ultimately your quality of life.
In conclusion, while it may be true that intelligent people tend to be less physically active, this should not be viewed as an excuse for a sluggish lifestyle. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous, and it is essential to maintain an ideal balance of physical activity and mental stimulation for overall well-being.