On a recent Saturday morning, my dad and I walked our dogs to the local basketball court to see what a persistent “thump-thump” noise coming from that direction was all about. Instead of basketball players, we found a fitness “boot camp,” where a gaggle of people in bright, tight clothing did squats and lunges and burpees in different stations, all to the same beat.
“People are weird,” I said.
It’s not exactly that we’re weird, Daniel E. Lieberman argues in “Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding.” Instead, it’s the way we exercise that’s odd. “We never evolved to exercise,” Lieberman writes, and I suppose he would think that fitness boot camp was no weirder than my five-mile run earlier that morning, or my dad’s use of a Fitbit to track his steps. None of this is natural to human beings, and exercise is a constant game of trying to catch up to lives we were never really meant to lead.