Exercise is vital to stay healthy but our lives don't encourage much activity

Why exercise alone won’t save us, by Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Article in The Guardian draws on research from book published last year entitled Primate Change: How the World We Made is Remaking Us.

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid from the School of English has had an article published in The Guardian as part of its ‘Long Read’ series, discussing the ways in which our modern lifestyles are making it increasingly hard for us to lead healthy lives.

The piece, entitled Why exercise alone won’t save usoutlines the various ways in which humanity has reduced physical activity within our daily routines through technological innovations and desk-based office jobs, without any replacement activities.

As such millions of us now lead sedentary lives that fail to provide the levels of fitness required for our general well-being and, as studies have shown, long life.

The article is based on a book recently published by Dr Cregan-Reid called Primate Change: How the World We Made is Remaking Us that looks at this topic in more detail. In particular, it examines how over the last two hundred years humans have made such a tremendous impact on the world that our geological epoch is about to be declared the ‘Anthropocene’, or the Age of Man.

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid

But while we have been busy changing the shape of the world we inhabit, the ways of living that we have been building have, as if under the cover of darkness, been transforming our bodies and altering the expression of our DNA, too.

The book and its focus has led to Dr Cregan-Reid being interviewed in The Sunday Time, writing for The Observer, and having his booked reviewed in The Financial Times and Nature. On Tuesday 23 October he was also a guest editor and host on the BBC 5 Live show, Nihal’s Afternoon Edition. He has a piece on the history of the chair about to appear on The Conversation, as well as an opinion piece in the Evening Standard on the homework debate.

Dy Vybarr Cregan-Reid's new book

Dr Cregan-Reid is also writing and will be presenting a series for the BBC World Service about his research which will go out to an estimated audience of 160 million next year.

He is also taking part in public events at both the Science Museum, on Wednesday 28 November and Saturday 7 December, and Natural History Museum on Saturday 17 December, discussing the work and its implications.

The book, published by Octopus Publishing Group, is available now in hardback.

See ‘In the media’ (right) for selected coverage.