A Harvard biologist says it’s natural to be physically lazy so we can all feel better about our life choices
Friends, Romans, countrypeople — we know. Life gets exhausting and stressful. Sometimes the only thing that helps is rest. And lots of it. Possibly even questionable amounts of it. Some part of us just subconsciously knows that couch potato time can be good for our mental health. (JUST LET ME LIVE MY LIFE, DARN IT.) Physical health, okay, maybe not — although binge watching Stranger Things certainly feels likeenough to give you the cardiovascular workout of a lifetime.
Fortunately, the days of sloth-shaming ourselves and others may have finally reached an end. Because we lazy folks have a new ally: a scientist. A Harvard scientist. He’s a biologist named Daniel Lieberman, and he has a theory that we’re meant to take chill time — and lots of it.
See, while humans evolved to be good at exercise, especially running — we’ve got “shorter toes and heel bones, and the ability to cool off through sweating,” Harvard magazine says, woot woot — our ancestors knew to exercise only as much as they needed to survive. Once they were done hunting, foraging, and running the hell away from dangerous megafauna, they needed to save energy for survival and reproduction. So any extra, unnecessary activity would have been “unwise, not to mention maladaptive,” Lieberman says.
Anyone else feeling super validated in their laziness right now?
But what about if you want to get a workout? Lieberman has two ideas to help you psych yourself up for exercise. First, you can make exercise mandatory — sort of tricking yourself into fight/flight/yoga-and-pilates mode, which keeps you motivated. Or second, you can make exercise a fun activity by working out with friends or doing team sports, placing the emphasis on socialization rather than calorie burning.
Whatever you choose, you know your body and your fitness needs best, so be proud of yourself!