Why We Exercise

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Running, biking, weightlifting, swimming — for lots of people, working out is an important part of life. It’s about our health — mental and physical — strength, weight control, discipline and let’s face it: vanity. On this episode, we explore why we exercise, why we should, and how to do it best.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Baby, we were born to run — even more than you might think. Reporter Jad Sleiman explores why humans are such improbably good runners. We cheer on Harvard professor Dan Lieberman as he races a horse in a 20-mile run, learn the history of persistence hunting, and find out why butts are our secret weapon.
  • Producer Lindsay Lazarski talks with historian Natalia Mehlman Petrzela about the history of women’s workouts — starting with the “reducing salons” of the 1930s through the age of jazzercise and aerobics. Petrzela’s upcoming book is called “Fit Nation: How America Embraced Exercise As The Government Abandoned It.”
  • Want to be able to tie your shoes when you’re 80, and still get up the stairs? Start working out now. We chat with sports physician Tony Reed from Temple University Hospital about the benefits of regular exercise for healthy aging.
  • Working out transformed Marta Rusek’s health and her life. But changing her difficult relationship with her body took even more time — and work.

438 episodes