Daniel Lieberman: The Story of the Human body: Evolution, Health, and Disease.

October 03, 2013 by Jamie Page


Letting your feet do their thing, moving skilfully and utilising the complex muscular-skeletal and nervous systems; that’s great, but it’s just one part of the puzzle.



Yes, healthy feet and footwear are important for functional movement and essential for healthy locomotion but there’s more … the growing understanding of why humans are the way they are based on our evolutionary heritage is providing key insights on how to prevent many kinds of illnesses and injuries.



Spearheading the research is Harvard’s ‘barefoot professor’ Dan Lieberman who’s book is out (3rd Oct 2013): The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease.


Why we get sick


In his latest book, Lieberman continues to persist in unlocking our evolutionary history and explore the clues of our past to gain a greater understanding of our current physical, mental and social form. A master in his field, Lieberman uses his knowledge and research to help us understand why we get sick, and make you more aware of healthy and harmful behaviours.


How and Why we make shoes


The launch of Lieberman's book is a key moment for VIVOBAREFOOT, it reaffirms our understanding, and adds to the growing evidence, of evolutionary biomechanics, which are derived from studying how and why our ancestors moved. This knowledge directly informs the way we design our shoes and why we make them – it makes sense to honour the foot, this masterpiece of evolution.


Lieberman on Shoes


"For most of human evolutionary history," Lieberman says, "[humans] were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning relative to modern running shoes."


Modern technology with ancient wisdom


That’s why, here at VIVOBAREFOOT, we utilise this knowledge of our past to inform how we make shoes for the modern landscape; staying true to the biomechanical principles whilst applying our new understanding.


An Insight into history


In an interview, with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, Lieberman discusses his book in more detail revealing some fascinating insights into The Story of the Human Body; Evolution, Health, and Disease. Exploring how our “Paleolithic bodies not being well-adapted to modern conditions” and “traces these troubles back to their origins”.

In the interview Professor Lieberman talks about “mismatch diseases” that occur because our bodies are poorly or inadequately adapted to environments in which we now live. They discuss our unfettered access to sweet foods and the dangers of this relatively ‘new’ situation on health. Lieberman highlights how sterile and clean environments help our immune systems to become inactive and therefore explain the rise in allergies and autoimmune diseases.


A cultural evolution


Finally Lieberman comments on our cultural evolution: how we learn and use our bodies and interact with each other based on learned information.
“We're evolving — we're evolving slowly through natural selection and rapidly through cultural evolution, and we need to think about those interactions as we plan to use our bodies better.”

Daniel E. Lieberman
Serves as chairman of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University. He uses an evolutionary perspective, “because nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, to ask: why does the human body look and function the way it does?


Want more? Here's a great interview with Lieberman from the Guardian

  News,  Science,  Vivobarefoot

  Barefoot Running,  Barefoot Shoes,  Daniel Lieberman,  Evolution,  Human Body

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