Skipping yet another workout to catch up on The Bachelor in Paradise may feel as natural as getting six to eight hours of sleep every night or brushing your teeth in the morning. Well, as it turns out, it actually is (sort of). According to Jonathon Shaw of Harvard Magazine, humans are actually “born to rest,” having evolved from hunter-gatherer ancestors who “exercise[d] only as much as they [needed] to survive.” In fact, running simply for the purpose of exercising would have been considered a threat to our ancestors’ overall health and well-being. So considering the fact that we don’t even hunt for our own food anymore, we’ve essentially evolved past running, in a sense.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that diet and exercise are currently essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So while we may be evolutionarily predisposed to detest working out, it would behoove us all to learn how to overcome the urge to remain glued to our couches.
New York magazine’s Melissa Dahl quotes scientist Daniel Lieberman, who has devoted his career to understanding our natural predisposition to laziness (and how to move past it). He suggests trying to make exercise fun by joining a running group or intramural sports team, or simply making exercise mandatory—something he believes should be instituted at the education level. “People who get more physical activity have better concentration, their memories are better, they focus better,” explains Lieberman. “So the time spent exercising is not time lost, but returned in spades.”
How do you make exercise a normal part of your routine? Try the MyFitnessPal app as a potential solution, and let us know how it goes.