Everyone knows exercise is boring and sport is fun. It’s hard to imagine anybody thinks going for a jog is more of a laugh than having a race. And if anyone suggests a six-mile walk with 10kgs of metal in your backpack is more enjoyable than playing 18 holes of golf I fear for us all. My Bachelor of Arts in Armchair Psychology and PhD in Guesswork have led me to conclude it’s about competition and measurable success. Showing off is one of the greatest motivations whereas working hard to improve yourself when nobody is watching is a thankless task.
Unfortunately proper sports need a bit of organising and up until now any attempt to get active have been shelved by a key personality flaw: I’m unwilling to go too far out of my way to do stuff. But this time it’ll be different. The warm glow of the Olympics faded fast but I’ve found a way to use one of my other character flaws – being a poser in near constant need of validation who would rather throw money than effort at a situation – to inspire me into activity.
You’d be surprised how active you can be when you’re putting things off... Youngsters, instead of doing your homework tidy your room. If you’re an adult doing your weekly shop is a fine alternative to sitting down and sorting out your tax and bills.
It was pretty easy in the end. I sacked off the gym membership I hadn’t used since February and invested in one of those new fangled exercise bracelets - the Nike+ Fuel Band. The gadget works by using an accelerometer and an algorithm to measure your activity and converts this data into Nike’s catchall term Fuel. Then you can set yourself goals and track your Fuel points through looking at your wrist, apps or the internet.
As I’ve already mentioned I’m not the type to get on my bike to the Velodrome so only use my Fuel Band to make a contest out of everyday tasks. I can’t be the only person with my hang-ups so if you’re a like minded idiot here are three ‘new sports’ you can do without having to put your shorts on.
It’s as easy as falling out of bed 45 minutes later than you should have. You may have to forgo a shower and breakfast but the health benefits are not to be sniffed at. The frantic dressing, constant running and power walking when you can’t run any further really gets your heart rate up. In your panicked state you’ll also take more than one attempt to leave the house. It’s common when playing Be Late to build in a couple of extra shuttle runs to the end of your road and back to collect your phone and wallet. Also when you arrive at your destination you’ll always take the stairs because the elevator takes too long.
Compared to the control experiment of waking up in plenty of time for the same meeting a week earlier I burned four times as much Fuel playing Be Late.
Frank Partnoy’s new book Wait: The Art and Science of Delay suggests procrastination is good for the mind. My research shows it’s also good for the body. You’d be surprised how active you can be when you’re putting things off. The best thing about a game of Procrastination is you can play at any age. Youngsters, instead of doing your homework tidy your room. If you’re an adult doing your weekly shop is a fine alternative to sitting down and sorting out your tax and bills.
While gearing up to write this nonsense I managed to load the dishwasher, make my bed and clean my clothes. Even without the unnecessary walk I took to ‘clear my head’ I used 12 times more Fuel than I did to pen this article.
Avoiding work is the new doing something.
See, this guy gets it.
Be A Hero
It’s obvious really, how many unfit heroes do you see? Comic books and films are packed with svelte goodies battling dumpy baddies because everyone knows self-sacrifice gives you tight buns. Entry-level heroes can boost their Fuel consumption by helping the elderly with their bags or giving a put upon parent a hand getting their pram down the stairs at a train station.
As an intermediate hero I broke up a fight between teenage girls at a bus stop when one angry bird gave the girl I was standing next to a drive by kicking because she’d been saying stuff about her on Facebook. Usually I’m the sort of good man who’d let evil triumph by doing nothing but this time I stepped in amongst the fists full of hair extensions to wrestle them apart. Today’s agitated teenagers are a lot stronger than when I was a kid so about five minutes of avoiding punches and appealing for calm turned into quite a workout. By the time I got them separated - and the fight had been downgraded to shouting obscenities - I’d used the same amount of Fuel I’d burnt doing a 12-minute jog/run playing Being Late. That’s a shed load more than the other people in the queue who just stood and watched.
Now I’ve got numbers to chase and a website telling me how well I’m doing I can refine my performance in all of these disciplines to get the most out of foolishness. It might not be quite the legacy the Olympics was trying to leave but if it inspires me to help someone who I would’ve ordinarily ignored, just to get some Fuel points, it’s better than nothing.
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