Virtual Event: Daniel Lieberman
Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding
January 5, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, the Cabot Science Library, and the Leakey Foundation welcome DANIEL LIEBERMAN—Edwin M. Lerner Professor of Biological Sciences and author of the national bestseller, The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease—for a discussion of his latest book, Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Exercised on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
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.
Praise for Exercised
“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 bestselling 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 bestselling 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
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
The mission of The Leakey Foundation is to increase scientific knowledge, education, and public understanding of human origins, evolution, behavior, and survival. We are dedicated to funding scientific research that explores the many facets of human origins and sharing the results of this research through our innovative educational programs. For more information, visit: https://leakeyfoundation.org/about
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