If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), 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? And how do we make sense of the conflicting, anxiety-inducing information about rest, physical activity, and exercise with which we are bombarded? Is sitting really the new smoking? Can you lose weight by walking?
 
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. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Lieberman recounts without jargon how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion. His engaging stories and ex­planations will revolutionize the way you think about exercising—not to mention sitting, sleep­ing, sprinting, weight lifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing.
 
Exercised is entertaining and enlightening but also constructive. 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 shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. He also tackles the ques­tion of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can reduce our vul­nerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.
"Brilliant...This makes for captivating reading."
Booklist [starred review]

“Endlessly fascinating and full of surprises. Daniel Lieberman strikes a perfect balance of scholarship, wit, and enthusiasm for his subject. This is easily one of my favorite books of the year.”
—Bill Bryson, New York Times best-selling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body 

“Were we born to run, to walk, or to sit on a couch?  One of our leading human biologists takes us through millions of years of evolution and diverse cultures around the planet to give us surprising, yet simple, answers. Part user manual for the human body and part detective story exploring our evolution, Exercised will change the way you think about exercise, diet, and your own well-being.”
—Neil Shubin, Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, and best-selling author of Your Inner Fish

“Excellent. Well-written, amusing, and touching on all our lives. Seldom if ever have I so enjoyed reading a book on any subject, and this one is for all of us—those of us who like to exercise and those of us who don’t.”
—Richard Leakey, co-author of Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human

“Fantastic. Such a surprising, erudite, and revelatory look at the natural history of physical activity and why exercise is both so necessary for us and so unnatural. It expands and alters our understanding of exercise, health, motivation, and why we feel the way that we do about treadmills. A must-read for anyone with a working body and mind.”
—Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times best-selling author of The First 20 Minutes

“In his earlier work, Lieberman explained how we were ‘born to run.’ In Exercised, he explains that we were also born to sit, which often leads to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—chronic diseases unknown to early humans. Fortunately, Exercised also explains how physical activity can set us free from these ills. It’s both a fascinating read and one that could nudge you toward a healthier (and longer) life.”
—Amby Burfoot, editor-at-large, Runner’s World, and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon