Just don’t do it: 10 exercise myths

We all believe we should exercise more. So why is it so hard to keep it up? Daniel E Lieberman, Harvard professor of evolutionary biology, explodes the most common and unhelpful workout myths

Yesterday at an outdoor coffee shop, I met my old friend James in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Over the past year on Zoom, he looked just fine, but in 3D there was no hiding how much weight he’d gained. As we sat down with our cappuccinos, I didn’t say a thing, but the first words out of his mouth were: “Yes, yes, I’m now 20lb too heavy and in pathetic shape. I need to diet and exercise, but I don’t want to talk about it!”

If you feel like James, you are in good company. With the end of the Covid-19 pandemic now plausibly in sight, 70% of Britons say they hope to eat a healthier diet, lose weight and exercise more. But how? Every year, millions of people vow to be more physically active, but the vast majority of these resolutions fail. We all know what happens. After a week or two of sticking to a new exercise regime we gradually slip back into old habits and then feel bad about ourselves.

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