Sept. 29: Busting Myths on the Evolution of Humans and Exercise

Busting Myths on the Evolution of Humans and Exercise

A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman, author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Thursday, September 29, at 7 PM EDT on Zoom

If exercise is healthy—and so good for you—why do many people dislike or avoid it? SWINY co-chair David Levine (@dlloydlevine) talks with Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman about his new book Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding (Penguin Random House).

Exercised is full of engaging stories and explanations that will revolutionize the way you think about exercising—not to mention sitting, sleeping, sprinting, weightlifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing.

In this myth-busting book, Dr. Lieberman 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. He answers the questions:

  • 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?

About Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman

Daniel E. Lieberman, PhD, is Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences and a professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He received degrees from Harvard and Cambridge and taught at Rutgers University and George Washington University before joining Harvard University as a professor in 2001. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Lieberman studies and teaches how and why the human body is the way it is, and how our evolutionary history affects health and disease. In his research he combines experimental biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology both in the lab and in the field (primarily Kenya and Mexico). He is best known for his work on the evolution of running and other kinds of physical activities such as walking and throwing but is also well known for studying the evolution of the human head.

Dr. Lieberman loves teaching and has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, many in journals such as NatureScience, and PNAS. In addition to ​Exercised, he is the author of the popular books The Evolution of the Human Head(2011) and The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease (2013). In his spare time, he enjoys running—sometimes barefoot—earning him the nickname “the Barefoot Professor.”

Watch: Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding. Talks at Google

Have a question for Dr. Lieberman you would like answered? Submit it here!

Thursday, September 29
7 to 8 pm EDT


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