Generic good advice: do intense exercise often

post by Robert_Wiblin · 2014-12-14T17:21:38.322Z · EA · GW · Legacy · 13 comments


  "Why bother?
  What exercises should I do?
  Keep reading...

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:

Here we’ll just discuss the first.

Exercise is awesome for:

What exercises should I do?

Keep reading...


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Giles · 2014-12-14T17:54:24.073Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Beeminder got me exercising. I recommend it if you have a tendency to put things off.

Replies from: Pablo_Stafforini, Ales_Flidr, Geuss
comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2014-12-14T19:27:34.278Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Beeminder has helped other EAs, too.

comment by Ales_Flidr · 2014-12-16T02:40:50.928Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've had great experience combining Beeminder with Fitocracy, which is a very easy way to quantify and gamify exercise. Prior to that, I had trouble comparing eg. run to gym workout. It usually made me resort to only running, which is easy to quantify, even though I knew it was sub-optimal.

comment by Geuss · 2014-12-15T04:33:21.566Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Just set up an account!

comment by peterhartree (Peter_Hartree) · 2014-12-16T21:56:50.193Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I strongly endorse what Rob said. Intense regular exercise is by far the best productivity and general well-being hack I've ever adopted. In my experience, once you get into it, it's the opposite of a chore.

Second-best hack (for focus): Pomodoro Technique (use Tadam as your timer (Mac only))

Third-best hack (for reducing stress): regular mindfulness meditation (about 10 minutes / day, use Headspace to learn the basics).

comment by Geuss · 2014-12-15T04:35:54.819Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Does anyone have firm research on the relationship between exercise and cognitive performance? Specifically on this dimension, what's the optimal weekly exercise duration?

comment by JacobLBryan · 2014-12-15T03:27:21.369Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've found climbing is a really good way to keep in shape, it combines strength, endurance/cardio and balance while still being interesting and challenging enough to be enjoyable. Pretty cheap too, especially if you go outside.

comment by Ales_Flidr · 2014-12-16T02:45:33.218Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Rob, this is very useful. Even though there's a lot of overlaps and a lot of people might have read it, I'd also mention this great summary on LessWrong. Someone might find it helpful in combination with this article.

comment by kdbscott · 2014-12-15T12:12:27.256Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Robert, this is great!

Do you listen to any media while you're exercising? Music? Books on tape?

Replies from: Robert_Wiblin
comment by Robert_Wiblin · 2014-12-15T23:25:54.293Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A combination of podcasts and music. This is easy to experiment with, to find what you like the most!