Life is hard. When we do something wrong, we all fall back on excuses and blame others.
“The dog ate my homework.”
“My mother won’t let me go to the party.”
“The Devil made me do it!”
But now, move over dog, Mom, and Devil. We have a new scapegoat to blame and shame, and it goes by the name of Science.
Now I’m not a scientific type by nature. Cold hard facts don’t govern my life. I’m more emotional than analytical, but I’ve just learned of a scientific study that I’m ready to throw my weight – literally and figuratively – behind. In fact, I’ll even throw my ample behind behind this study!
Just the other day, I was happily parked on the couch reading the newspaper, when I happened upon a report that says we sit because humans are genetically programmed to do so.
Sitting and Satisfied
The study proclaims that our brains conspire and inspire us to be sedentary slugs! Yes, baby. Lady Gaga was right. I was born this way, lazy to the bone.
According to this fancy (non-exercise) pants neurological study, a group of physiologists and psychologists explored the idea that our minds may undermine our best intentions to shake our chubby tail feathers and exercise.
The researchers, it seems, wanted to look beyond our usual “lame” excuses of too little time, too much work, and “I don’t like to sweat” to determine why for so many of us, the spirit may be willing to get in shape, but the excuses always win out and we don’t.
The scientists recruited 29 healthy men and women and studied their brains’ electrical activity while testing how they felt about exercise as the subjects played a computerized exercise game. On a conscious level, the subjects preferred keeping their characters/stick figures in motion, but on a deeper, unconscious level, their brain activity didn’t seem to agree. (I couldn’t follow the clinical in’s and out’s, but I liked the conclusion. So, let’s just go with that!)
One of the lead researchers said the test results made sense from an evolutionary standpoint. “Conserving energy was necessary, ” explained Matthieu Boisgontier of the University of British Columbia. The fewer calories burned, the less food required. In times of scarcity, sitting still and conserving calories was a survival strategy.
I like it! Being lazy is energy efficient!
Who knew? Science is the great enabler.
The Science and Music Made Me Do It!
Need more proof? Here’s another science story that provides opportunity – i.e. an excuse – to indulge in my worst habits – “‘I’ll Have the Cake.’ The Music Made Me Do It.”
According to this second group of (sainted) scientists, when restaurants blare loud music, they aren’t just driving us to distraction, they’re driving us to make unhealthy eating choices.
Apparently loud music pairs well with red meat and cake! Make mine a double, a double slice of seven-layer chocolate cake that is!
“High-volume music is more exciting and makes you physically more excited, less inhibited and more likely to choose something indulgent,” said Dipayan Biswas, a professor of business and of marketing at the University of South Florida in Tampa and lead author of the paper. “Low music makes us more relaxed and more mindful, and more likely to go for the things that are good for us in the long run.” (The New York Times)
Likewise, according to the scientists, throbbing background music in the supermarket “inspires” us to buy more unhealthy food. I guess “More than a Feeling” pairs well with chips and dip!
Isn’t this great? Now, instead of blaming your gluttony to a lack of self-control or your sluggish middle-aged metabolism, you can cake-blame the music … and Science.
Of course, when I was younger, I used to beat myself up for lapses of self-control. If only I would study more, work harder, eat less, worry less … everything would be alright … better … perfect. That’s what I thought.
Now that I’m older, however, I’m more forgiving of myself … and of others. And today, thanks to this new “scientific” excuse, well, things are really looking up!
So, it’s time to crank up the volume on my Sonos speaker and rock out! Then I’m going to plop down on the couch and have a big slice of pie. Care to join me? No guilt necessary. Remember … Science is making us do it!
Like that great scientist, Lady Gaga proclaimed,
♫“Baby, I’m on the right track.
I was born this way.
Oh, there ain’t no other way.
Baby, I was born this way!”♫