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Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Daniel Lieberman
Soon available in online shop


From the best-selling author of The Story of the Human Body, this highly engaging, landmark natural history of exercise is "endlessly fascinating and full of surprises" (Bill Bryson), as it seeks to answer a fundamental question: Were you born to run or rest?

If exercise is healthy, why do many people dislike or avoid it? If we are born to walk and run, why do most of us take it easy whenever possible? Does running ruin your knees? Should we do weights, cardio, or high-intensity training? In this myth-busting book, Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise--to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman audaciously argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman suggests how we can make exercise more enjoyable rather than shame and blame people for avoiding it, and tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why it can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.