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Publisher's Summary

If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), why do many people dislike or avoid it? These 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.

“Strikes a perfect balance of scholarship, wit, and enthusiasm.” (Bill Bryson, New York Times best-selling author of The Body)

  • 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?
  • Is sitting really the new smoking?
  • Can you lose weight by walking?
  • And how do we make sense of the conflicting, anxiety-inducing information about rest, physical activity, and exercise with which we are bombarded?

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 most likely to make us sick and kill us.

©2021 Daniel Lieberman (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Exercised

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Reinforces the message why we should exercise

Just like his other two books, this book was also entertaining and informative. Because of his knowledge about human evolution he is able to provide evolutionary evidence.I recommend his other two books as well.

I am in my 20s and I consider exercise as a long term investment to my health and my future children’s health. In fact, I owe it to my older self. It got me out of depression and restored my self esteem.

Things I am going to change going forward after reading the book:
I got an exercise ball as office chair.
I intend to reduce heavy lifting and focus more on cardio.

To the author, i have read all three of your books. Next topic to consider is change in our diet.



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Y - E - S !

I'm a 30 something that's always had a vested interest in health. As I've aged I've been keenly aware of all the contradictory information that's out there. E.g. Walking is the magic bullet to weight loss; no just kidding it will make you gain more weight and you're just spinning your tires.

The authors do a wonderful job of separating the facts from the fiction. with the added benefit of showing their work.

Anyone who is curious about: our evolutionary biology, biomechanics, and health need this book in their library.

Great book period. Also the doctor interviews quite well. You can find the interview on CBC radio one. It's how I was roped in. Enjoy.

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Informative and Entertaining

Excellent account of exercise from an anthropological and scientific perspective. This book was non-blaming and motivating.

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An edifying and fascinating read.

Highly recommend this book. Explains so much of human behavior especially regarding physical exercise.

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Great book!

Whether you’re interested in exercise or not, this is such an interesting book. One of the few books I will read again!!’ 👏

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  • David A Cornell Jr.
  • 2021-01-12

Fantastic analysis of our evolution in regards to physical activity

When I first heard of this book I thought it was going to be a great analysis on exercise that I could use to promote a healthy lifestyle for myself and others. While I was right, the in depth analysis of human behavior and it’s development in regards to physical activity transcends this book past being another “exercise mantra”. It has even helped me address blocks in my own study of human societies and how we evolved to function the way we do.

P.S. Audible is my way of enjoying exercise. The chance to take in more knowledge while using the time prioritized for exercising is my motivation.

8 people found this helpful

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  • aaron
  • 2021-01-22

Great book to listen to in the gym!

This book is not only filled to the brim with the latest research on why exercise is good for you, but it’s also highly inspirational and motivational - the perfect book to listen to while doing cardio!

The narrator sounds like he’s either half-asleep or half-dead, but it didn’t detract enough from the book to warrant a lower rating. If anything, it just requires a bit more focus and attention to keep from zoning out. Would’ve been considerably more enjoyable (not to mention more respectful to the listener) to have gone with a narrator who sounds more lively, motivated, and engaged.

5 people found this helpful

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  • madscience
  • 2021-01-24

Well-written. intellectually stimulating.

This is a great Audible listen or read. This Harvard professor explores exercise from an evolutionary perspective. Though we were not designed to exercise, it is beneficial for maintaining good health in a post hunter-gathering society.

Humans are by nature walkers, endurance runners, and carriers.
10,000 steps per day is the consensus view on the amount of activity we should be engaged in, including by exercising.
150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly is suggested.

Aerobic exercise helps keep the heart strong, arteries clear, supple, and unclogged, and resting blood pressure low. It burns harmful organ fat, improves the body's ability to use sugar, lowers the level of inflammation, beneficially adjusts the level of hormones, and stimulates the immune system.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) increases the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently, making its chambers larger and more elastic. HIIT stresses the cardiovascular system more acutely than moderate intensity aerobic exercise. It can yield rapid, dramatic benefits.

Multiple physical activity studies show that physical activity reverses the deleterious effects of aging.

Persistent physical inactivity along with smoking and excess body fat are the biggest 3 factors that influence the likelihood and duration of the major illnesses that kill most people who live in industrial westernized contexts.

Some exercise is better than none and more exercise is better.
A combination of exercise types such as HIIT cardio, aerobics, and weightlifting may be the best prescription for good health and preventing cardiovascular disease.

A well-written, thoughtful, enjoyable read, with smatterings of humor, replete with anecdotes and scientific research.























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  • DD
  • 2021-01-17

excellent survey for understanding the essence

he has done an excellent job in summarising the substance of this field and the practical application as it would be applied to society and our individual selves. You will have a great understanding of the why and how when you finish this book In addition to the importance for all To know.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-01-27

The narration disappointing in places.

Stressing the wrong word in sentences makes them confusing. The narrator has a lovely voice and sometimes his narration is spot on but other times it seems as though he was not trying to understand what he was reading.

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  • Mike
  • 2021-01-26

Its all worksouts

I'm a biostatistician that focuses on healthy aging. This book encapsulates my current beliefs on exercise better than I could have described myself.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-04-22

Makes you want to improve yourself

This book is an elixir for good health, and will motivate you to go out and excercise!

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  • Greg
  • 2021-04-21

A good book, especially the layperson.

This book has good quality information and a practical approach to overcoming impediments to exercise. However, I found the Author's emphasis on Mythbusting distracting and unnecessary. many of these myths seemed to me little more than strawmen or a case of splitting hairs. I also didn't care for the narrator's inflections and would prefer to have read the book myself. Overall, however, the book is a worthwhile read.

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  • Jeremy
  • 2021-04-15

Lessons for life

I appreciated the fat ranging theories and multiple approaches discussed in this book. Now I just need to learn how to get in these studies.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2021-04-15

Riveting and inspiring.

I loved the reader, and the content was both inspiring and actionable. I will probably listen to it several times.