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Study Shows That Being Lazy Could Actually Be A Good Thing

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Nov. 18 2019, Updated 2:15 p.m. ET

Struggle to get out of bed in the morning? According to one study, it's because you're smart. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology suggests that people who are more active spend less time exercising their brain. While those of us who are lazy tend to use our brains more.

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Researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University tracked the physical activity of 60 undergraduate students for a week after dividing the students into two groups: those who engaged in and enjoyed "effortful cognitive endeavors," and those that had less desire to do so. 

Professor Todd McElroy told Broadly that people who enjoy working through challenging puzzles have a high need for cognition (NFC). Those who enjoy doing more mundane tasks and not stimulating their brain have a low NFC.  

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Subjects wore a pedometer which measured their physical movements every 30 seconds for a week. When all the data was in, researchers found a pretty substantial difference. 

The group with low NFC moved significantly more every day compared to the group with a high NFC group. 

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But as The Independent pointed out, it's not as simple as book nerds who never exercise and jocks who never use their brain: 

"People with lower IQs can enjoy a contemplative life and a good cognitive challenge, for instance. Similarly, plenty of people with high IQs dislike using their brain in challenging ways." 
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McElroy also believes that motivation has a lot to do with the findings. People who engage in more physical activity may be attempting to avoid a challenging mental task. McElroy himself admits to doing chores or going for a walk to avoid marking papers. 

"Just because you seem to be lazy, or what people would qualify as lazy," he said. "You actually might be engaging in some type of higher motivated thought." 
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