“Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding” by Daniel Lieberman
I enjoyed his challenging tone and unique perspective on physical activity and its role in human health. In this insightful book, Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist, explores the historical and evolutionary contexts of exercise, debunking common myths and misconceptions.
Lieberman combines scientific research with an engaging narrative to explain how our sedentary lifestyles are at odds with our evolutionary design. He argues that while our ancestors were naturally active for survival, modern humans have to consciously incorporate exercise into their daily lives. This evolutionary mismatch, he suggests, contributes to many of today’s health problems.
The book is not just an exposition of problems but also provides practical advice. Here are five top tips for good health based on Lieberman’s insights:
- Make Exercise a Routine, Not a Choice: Given our evolutionary propensity for energy conservation, making exercise a regular part of your daily routine, rather than an optional activity, can help overcome innate laziness.
- Variety is Key: Our ancestors engaged in a diverse range of physical activities. Incorporating different types of exercises – from walking and running to strength training – can be more beneficial and less monotonous.
- Exercise Should Be Enjoyable: Find an activity you love. Enjoyment increases the likelihood of consistency. If you enjoy a physical activity, you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Social Exercise is Effective: Historically, humans were active in groups. Group activities or exercising with friends can increase motivation and adherence to an exercise routine.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals. Rest when necessary and avoid overexertion, which can lead to injury or burnout.
“Exercised” is a compelling read that offers a fresh lens through which to view physical activity, emphasizing the importance of understanding our evolutionary history to improve our modern health practices.