Reading notes: Exercised

Humans evolved to be physically active by necessity. We had to search for and chase our food for many millennia. Only very recently (evolutionarily speaking) has our food come to us.

Evolving in a calorie-scarce environment meant that conservation of energy is key. When given the opportunity, humans prefer to sit around and do nothing. In the modern world, sedentary behaviour coupled with nearly unlimited access to calories leads to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. We now find ourselves in a situation where voluntary physical activity, exercise, is necessary for good health. Exercised by Daniel Lieberman explores the evolutionary anthropological basis for our need to exercise despite our most basic instincts.

Exercised is meticulously crafted. I found its style similar to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, another book on human evolution and anthropology that I enjoyed many years ago now. Overall, I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in fitness, anthropology, or evolutionary biology. The ideal reader would be interested in all three (that includes me). What follows are a few of the main points that I took away from the book.

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