Some people might call binge watching all five seasons of Scandal in a month lazy; we call it evolutionary.
The next time you can’t tear yourself away from your latest Law & Order binge to get a workout in, feel free to blame it on your nomadic ancestors.
New scientific research suggests that our evolutionary tendencies may contribute to our lack of motivation to work out. According to evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman, humans are actually genetically predisposed to laziness.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were nomadic and conserved virtually all of their energy for finding food. Those who exerted less energy when not procuring sustenance were the ones most fit to survive. Similarly, many large mammals today sleep during the daytime and exert the majority of their energy when hunting, migrating, or fleeing predators.
So while we might not be able to use the same excuses as our nomadic ancestors (after all, most of us have plenty of pizza and Chinese takeout to accompany our Netflix binges), we can use this information to help combat our proclivity for full-time couch potato status.
Lieberman suggests that rather than giving up and giving into our evolutionary tendencies, humans should find ways to make exercise more rewarding. Finding a form of physical activity that you truly enjoy or participating in group exercise like sports teams are great ways to motivate yourself to work out more frequently.
We know it can be tempting to blame our laziness entirely on millions of years of human evolution stacked against us, but at the end of the day it’s important to be healthy and happy. Besides, we promise Olivia Pope and Olivia Benson will still be waiting for you when you get home from the gym.
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