Wellbeing

Harvard Says It’s Not Our Fault We’re Lazy – It’s Evolution

There’s a reason it’s so hard to get up for a morning workout and so easy to lay on the couch all weekend. Evolutionarily speaking, we’re meant to be lazy, says a Harvard Professor.

Great news for those who struggle with exercise: it’s been stated that being lazy is actually the default setting of humankind. So next time you’re scrolling through social media and getting down on yourself for your lack of gym selfies, it may be worth noting that we’re not really geared to work out for reasons of wellness.

Daniel Lieberman states that it’s not our natural inclination to exercise for health alone, saying “It is natural and normal to be physically lazy. I predict that hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari or the Amazon are just as likely as 21st century Americans to instinctually avoid unnecessary exertion. Although a small percentage of people today exercise as a form of medicine, doing their prescribed dose, the vast majority of people today behave just as their ancestors by exercising only when it is fun or when necessary.”

“It is natural and normal to be physically lazy,” he writes giving historical and biological reasoning. As our ancestors struggled to attain and consume as many calories and they burned finding the food that provided those calories; they didn’t move unless it was required for survival. Basically, our natural instincts are to save energy so it’s amassed should we need to exert it for survival.

But of course, thanks to agriculture and technological advances (hello, pre-packaged food and escalators) we no longer spend hours and hours a day foraging for survival.

“We have machines and technology to make our lives easier… We’ve inherited these ancient instincts, but we’ve created this dream world and the result is inactivity,” says Lieberman.

So if our natural inclination is to conserve energy for when we actually need it, in other words, our evolutionarily instinct is to be lazy – what’s the solution to getting us moving?

Lieberman asserts that just as our ancestors had an incentive (survival), modern-day humans need one too. So, whats yours?

Lead Image: Jon Rawlinson/Flickr

[h/t: Sydney Morning Herald]