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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The myth-busting science behind our modern attitudes to exercise: what our bodies really need, why it matters and its effects on health and wellbeing.

In industrialised nations, our sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases like diabetes. A key remedy, we are told, is exercise - voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. However, most of us struggle to stay fit, and our attitudes to exercise are plagued by misconceptions, finger-pointing and anxiety.

But, as Daniel Lieberman shows in Exercised, the first book of its kind by a leading scientific expert, we never evolved to exercise. 

We are hardwired for moderate exertion throughout each day, not triathlons or treadmills. Drawing on over a decade of high-level scientific research and eye-opening insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman explains precisely how exercise can promote health; debunks persistent myths about sitting, speed, strength and endurance; and points the way towards more enjoyable and physically active living in the modern world.

©2020 Daniel Lieberman (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Endlessly fascinating and full of surprises. Easily one of my books of the year." (Bill Bryson)

"Myth-busting, illuminating, brilliant - Lieberman will completely change the way you think about your body." (Professor Alice Roberts, presenter of Our Incredible Human Journey

What listeners say about Exercised

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the book doesn't offer any new insights

the regular guideline of 150hrs/week of moderate (or half that of intense, or combination) along with weight training is emphasized

some myths regarding exercise are dispelled (chief among them that running hurts knees)


otherwise an evolutionary basis of why exercise helps is given, it fascinates a bit but otherwise doesn't add much more to any actionable knowledge

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Must read for today's generarion

loved the entire presentation. consice and throughly engaging, eye opening. wish we all could live by it

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Deep understanding

This book is really good gives deep insights into physical activities and rationale behind developing the same from evolutionary and anthropological perspective.

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  • steveandtoni
  • 19-06-21

Essential reading for every human being

An outstanding book

So good that I bought the Kindle version too so that I can go back to reread sections



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  • M K
  • 18-11-20

Absolutely fantastic for any movement teachers

And anyone interested to find out more about how our bodies evolved in terms of daily movement. I’m a yoga teacher and a personal trainer and daily I come across people who struggle to exercise and blame themselves for it. Having read that book, your entire thinking process changes. You will choose to exercise, knowing it’s benefits, especially as we age, instead of forcing yourself to do so. That’s the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Understanding how movement was and should be part of our everyday life, helps to get a better grasp on how our body works. We literally need movement in order to thrive. It’s not about being constantly on a go but incorporating more movement into our lives. It doesn’t have to be complicated. ‘Keep it up as you age’

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  • G
  • 07-02-21

Interesting to know the science behind exercise

Facts and presentation were Interesting but I didn’t warm to the narrator’s voice at all. Found it bearable at 1.1x. Not sure why US publishers find people with low monotone voices that are so hard to listen to.

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  • The BoatBuilder
  • 02-01-21

An honest Appraisal

I liked how the book starts by questioning the need to exercise. Why Hunter gatherers don’t. Basically, technology has improved (made more exciting) our lives but brings with it a lot of baggage that is bad for our health.
Definitely worth listening to.

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  • Robert
  • 31-05-21

Very run focused.

Very interesting book, mainly biased towards runners and running though.

A fair few questions left unanswered too.

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  • Val L.
  • 01-05-21

Fabulous informative listen

I really enjoyed this book. Several people have commented that they did not warm to the narrator’s voice. He does speak quite slowly but once I was used to this i stopped noticing it and enjoyed the book greatly. It is a very interesting listen and the book is well structured. I would recommend it to anyone interested in health and well-being.

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  • MR T HADZIKADUNIC
  • 06-09-21

Outstanding!

Great narrative backed up by lots of evidence. I'll be recommending this to friends and patients.

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  • Ersin
  • 03-11-21

amazing book.

easy to listen. very informative and educational. explains everything you would want to know about exercise and ancestors

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  • saar byrne
  • 04-08-22

Life changing

This book allowed me to have a great understanding of exercise, clearing up all the conflicting information that’s constantly shared. If you’re int exercise, or even better, you’re skeptical, this book is for you.

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  • PeterJHills
  • 23-04-22

You wish this guy was your tutor

Straight talking, evidence based story. The author comes across as a good guy, doesn't bombard you with stats and let's it all sink in. Thanks for the great book!

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  • J. Buchan
  • 08-12-21

Fascinating review

A fascinating review of our need to exercise and just how it affects us. My only issue is the Narrator is slightly too relaxing to listen too! Rather than exercise he makes me want to make a cocoa!

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  • Danielle Fisher
  • 17-11-20

A thoroughly interesting and informative read!

Daniel Lieberman has managed to convey a superbly balanced account of the evolutionary response to exercise and physical activity.
This is a ‘must read’ for anyone remotely concerned about their health and the health of our society in general.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-22

So interesting logical.

well I have been reassured by this book.
And will continue the life style with extra knowledge and vigor.
Thank you so much.

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  • Chris Dorman
  • 14-12-20

Fascinating, Brilliant & Essential for health!

I loved this evolutionary anthropology perspective to provide context to a relatively recently phenomenon. Brilliant science and fantastically simple prescription at the end. Essential reading for all exercise practitioners.

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  • Robert
  • 29-04-22

Great book, didn’t love the narration

This is a very interesting book, full of great insights. However the narrator has a strange sing-song voice which I found hard to lock onto. I’m sure others will disagree and I wouldn’t avoid this book solely on that basis.

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  • Katy Eyre
  • 18-04-21

Fascinating, fantastic, faultless!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I've now got every other Daniel Leiberman book ready to go!