Generic good advice: do intense exercise often

by Robert_Wiblin14th Dec 201413 comments



Earlier this year I wrote a brain-dump of everything I thought I knew about exercise, and it proved quite popular on Facebook. This has allowed me to get feedback and gradually improve it.

As far as I know, doing intense exercise regularly is one of the best things you can do to improve your physical and mental health, as well as work productivity. This advice is obviously good for anyone, but it bears regular reminders as people tend to fall in and out of the habit. There is also good evidence that "brief opportunistic interventions" - that is, just periodically reminding people that they should e.g. exercise, or stop smoking, or cut down on alcohol - work quite well. 

Feel free to leave comments on the document if you want me to edit it, or here.

Here's how I open: 

"Why bother?

If your life isn’t going so great, there are a few valuable questions to ask:

  • Do I do enough exercise to sweat heavily several times a week, and ideally every day? 
  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • Am I eating an OK diet?
  • Do I have friends/family I trust, and do I regularly spend time with them?
  • Am I surrounded by jerks, or do I hate my career/field of study?
  • Am I using drugs to self-medicate in a harmful way?
  • Do I have mental health issues I should talk about with my doctor?

Here we’ll just discuss the first.

Exercise is awesome for:

  • Living longer
  • Staying smart and healthy while you are alive
  • Making you more happy, or at least less depressed or anxious
  • Making you more attractive
  • Making people admire/respect you
  • Raising your self-efficacy and energy levels
  • Improving self control and focus
  • In some cases, improving your social life.
  • If you don’t care about these things, don’t exercise. For everyone else…

What exercises should I do?

  • Whichever exercise you will enjoy and keep doing frequently is the best.
  • The most important thing is just to exercise regularly - the details are secondary to that."

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