About The Book

If exercise is healthy why do so many people dislike 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 all the conflicting, confusing, anxiety-provoking information about rest, physical activity and exercise? 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?


Exercised is a myth-busting natural history of how we never evolved to exercise –– that is do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using the author’s original research and experiences all over the world, Exercised recounts without jargon how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other physical activities when they were necessary and rewarding but otherwise avoid needless exertion. Exercised’s engaging stories and explanations will revolutionize the way you think about exercise not to mention sitting, sleeping, sprinting, weightlifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing.


Exercised is as much for people who are confused and ambivalent about exercise as it is for exercise addicts. As increasingly sedentary lifestyles are contributing to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases like diabetes, Exercised argues that we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise to help each other be more active. By drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Exercised shows how we can make exercise more enjoyable in the modern world without shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. Exercised also tackles whether you can exercise too much, and explains just how much and why exercise can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.


Book Text Icons



Table of Contents:



Chapter 1. Are We Born to Rest or Run?

   Part I. Inactivity

Chapter 2. The Importance of Being Lazy

Chapter 3. Sitting: Is It the New Smoking?

Chapter 4: Sleep: Why Stress Thwarts Rest

   Part II. Speed, Strength, and Power

Chapter 5: Speed: Neither Tortoise nor Hare

Chapter 6. Strength: From Brawny to Scrawny

Chapter 7. Fighting and Sports: From Fangs to Football

   Part III. Endurance

Chapter 8. Walking: All in a Day’s Walk

Chapter 9. Running and Dancing: Jumping from One Leg to the Other

Chapter 10. Endurance and Aging: The Active Grandmother and Costly Repair Hypotheses

   Part IV. Exercise in the Modern World

Chapter 11. To Move or Not to Move: How to Make Exercise Happen

Chapter 12. How Much and What Type?

Chapter 13. Exercise and Disease