Thursday, April 8, 2021


Environmental & Science Education, Health, STEM

Ed Hessler

National Public Radio's Terry Gross spoke with Daniel Lieberman, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology (Harvard) about exercise. You may listen (36-minutes) or read a summary here.

Lieberman "says says that the notion of 'getting exercise' — movement just for movement's sake — is a relatively new phenomenon in human history.

'Until recently, when energy was limited and people were physically active, doing physical activity that wasn't necessarily rewarding, just didn't happen.When I go to these [remote African tribal] villages, I'm the only person who gets up in the morning and goes for a run. And often they laugh at me. They think I'm just absolutely bizarre. ... Why would anybody do something like that?"

"Lieberman has spent a lot of time with indigenous hunter-gatherers in Africa and Latin America, cataloging how much time they spend walking, running, lifting, carrying and sitting. He writes about his findings, as well as the importance of exercise and the myths surrounding it in his new book, Exercised. The subtitle adds some information: "Why something we never evolved to do is healthy and rewarding". I almost always choose the Amazon site because it allows a peek inside. 

The interview includes highlights: on the demonizing of sitting as "the new smoking," on the importance of "interrupted sitting," on how chairs with backs have contributed to our back pain, on the idea that running is bad for your knees, on becoming frail with age, and on the stress around getting eight hours of sleep each night.

This interview was the work of many people, all of whom are acknowledged.

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