Living by the Numbers – Wired 20.10 Oct 2012

  1. Conserve your willpower: it runs out – Willpower is a (finite) measurable mental energy that requires glucose to maintain.
  2. Shorten your workouts – High intensity workouts increase endurance. The reverse isn’t true.
  3. Make sport-specific playlists – listening to upbeat music causes you to push harder
  4. Learn to read scientific reports – The press isn’t always to most reliable transmitter of information; get it from the source.
    • Causation vs. Correlation
    • True size of the effect – don’t be fooled by large percentages of small samples
    • Statistical Power – know n & p. The sample size and the statistical significance
    • Conflicts of interest
  5. Don’t Ignore Data – Data helps you make good decisions, but only when you look at it
  6. Check your genome – Gene mutation can predict how you’ll respond to certain substances.
  7. Sleep… or else – There’s a link between sleep deprivation and obesity. Earning $60k more a year has less effect of daily happiness than getting an additional hour of sleep. Those in sleep dep are over 60% more sensitive to negative emotional stimuli.
  8. Know whether to caffeinate or nap – Both can improve your mood; combined they’re magical. If you need to run fast, drink 1.5 cups coffee one hour before the race. If you need to be creative or use strong declarative memory, get sleep.
  9. Be a Discerning Pill Popper – Up to 75% of antibiotics we take are (wrongly) prescribed for colds. Probiotics could reduce that.
  10. Eat This Meal – Includes whole grains, fillet of salmon, fruit medley, veggies galore and water.
  11. Beware of Food Trends – “good-for-you” foods often turn out to be bad for you and vice versa.
  12. Do the Right Things at the Right Times – circadian rhythms affect sports.
  13. Heighten Your Senses with Call of Duty – Nongamers who play just one hour a day for several weeks get benefits in faster reaction time and focus.
  14. Get to know your poop bugs – Gut microorganisms basically eat what we eat, so smart dietary choice can foster the bugs that boost metabolism and help absorb nutrients.
  15. Dial in Your Happiness – Meeting basic needs feels good; racing to get rich does not
    • $75,000 per year salary – more than that doesn’t add to happiness
    • 20 minute commute – up to 20 minutes is a breeze; more than 30 minutes is equally bad
    • 33 hour work week
    • 1 kid – one child make you happy. More ain’t better and your happiness will increase when they leave home
  16. Avoid Unnecessary Procedures – You probably need fewer tests.
  17. Get a Standing Desk – Sitting at a desk for more than 4 hours a day will increase your risk of death from any cause by nearly 50% and boost your risk of heart problems by 125%.
  18. Learn to Live Longer – Make little things inconvenient (get rid of the garage door opener to force you to get out and open it yourself; sitting on the floor is equivalent of doing 40 squats each day), but keep some decisions mindlessly simple (don’t put junk food on your shopping list so you can’t eat it at home).