It’s the dog days of August, which means that it’s also the perfect time for National Lazy Day. The holiday is on August 10 every year.
While most of us don’t need an excuse to be lazy for 24 hours, National Lazy Day gives us a legitimate one just before the end of summer. The school year is about to resume, if it hasn’t already where you live, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Here’s a look at the holiday and laziness.
1. It’s Not Clear Who Invented National Lazy Day, but It Was Mentioned in 2001
The origin of National Lazy Day is a mystery, notes National Calendar Day. However, it has been around for over a decade at least.
Slate writer David Plotz mentioned the holiday in a 2001 essay called “August, Let’s get rid of it.” He notes that August is the only month without a real holiday, but he then goes on to list “lame celebrations” that other months “didn’t want.”
“Air Conditioning Appreciation Week, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Week, National Religious Software Week, Carpenter Ant Awareness Week: All these grand American celebrations belong to August,” Plotz wrote. “Is it any accident that National Lazy Day, Relaxation Day, Deadwood Day, and Failures Day are commemorated in August?”
2. A 2015 Study Found That Laziness Is a Sign of High Intelligence
A 2015 study by Florida Gulf Coast University and Appalachian State University researchers found that laziness correlates with high intelligence.
The study suggests that people with high IQs usually don’t get bored easily, so they are interested in thinking more than engaging in physical activities. Since those with less IQs are more easily bored, they will usually do more physical activity to keep themselves interested, notes the Telegraph.
However, the study had a very small sample size. They also found that there was no difference between the physical activities of either smarter or less intelligent people on the weekends.
“Ultimately, an important factor that may help more thoughtful individuals combat their lower average activity levels is awareness,” researcher Todd McElroy told the Telegraph. “Awareness of their tendency to be less active, coupled with an awareness of the cost associated with inactivity. More thoughtful people may then choose to become more active throughout the day.”
3. Other Studies Show That Humans Are More Interested in Taking the Easy Way Out
Other interesting studies have determined that humans are wired to lazy.
As the BBC reported in 2015, researchers at the Simon Fraser University in Canada studied the habits of nine volunteers who wore leg braces to make their usual walking pattern more strenuous. It only took them all a few minutes to figure out how to change their patterns to make it easier for themselves to walk with the braces on.
“Here we have provided a physiological basis for this laziness by demonstrating that even within a well-rehearsed movement like walking, the nervous system subconsciously monitors energy use and continuously re-optimises movement patterns in a constant quest to move as cheaply as possible,” Dr. Max Donelan said, notes the BBC.
A February 2017 study from University College London determined that the easiest way to accomplish something will always look more appealing. The study’s abstract reads, in part:
When participants reported the direction of the visual motion by left or right manual reaching movement with different resistances, their reports were biased towards the direction associated with less effortful option. Repeated exposure to such resistance on hand during perceptual judgements also biased subsequent judgements using voice, indicating that effector-dependent motor costs not only biases the report at the stage of motor response, but also changed how the sensory inputs are transformed into decisions. This demonstrates that the cost to act can influence our decisions beyond the context of the specific action.
4. The English Bulldog Is Considered 1 of the Top Laziest Dog Breeds
IHeartDogs put the English Bulldog at #1 because they enjoy sleeping most of the day. The site also included the French Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Clumber Spaniel and Pug in its Top 5.
Other lazy dog breeds include the Great Dane, Shih Tzu, Greyhound (when their not racing) and the Newfoundland. Toy breeds like the Chinese crested and Japanese chin are also considered lazy.
5. A Stanford University Study in 2017 Found That the U.S. Is 1 of the Laziest Countries in the World
In July, Stanford University published a major study called “Activity Inequality,” which looked at smartphone step tracking data from 717,527 users in 111 countries. The study found that the average person took 4,961 daily steps. Hong Kong averaged the most, with 6,880 a day. Indonesia came in last place with 3,513 steps a day on average. In the U.S., the average was 4,774 steps a day.
“The study is 1,000 times larger than any previous study on human movement,” researcher Scott Delp told the BBC. “There have been wonderful health surveys done, but our new study provides data from more countries, many more subjects, and tracks people’s activity on an ongoing basis. This opens the door to new ways of doing science at a much larger scale than we have been able to do before.”
The study also looked at the walkability of 69 U.S. cities. New York, Boston, San Francisco, Arlington, Virginia and Chicago topped the list, while Arlington, Texas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Cleveland were near among the least walkable.
Time Magazine noted that a 2012 study published by Lancet found that 34 percent of women in 122 countries were “inactive,” compared to 28 percent of men. The study found that 31.1 percent of adults overall were physically inactive.