The bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct introduces a surprising science-based book that doesn't tell us why we should exercise but instead shows us how to fall in love with movement.
Exercise is health-enhancing and life-extending, yet many of us feel it's a chore. But, as Kelly McGonigal reveals, it doesn't have to be. Movement can and should be a source of joy.
Through her trademark blend of science and storytelling, McGonigal draws on insights from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology, as well as memoirs, ethnographies, and philosophers. She shows how movement is intertwined with some of the most basic human joys, including self-expression, social connection, and mastery--and why it is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
McGonigal tells the stories of people who have found fulfillment and belonging through running, walking, dancing, swimming, weightlifting, and more, with examples that span the globe, from Tanzania, where one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes on the planet live, to a dance class at Juilliard for people with Parkinson's disease, to the streets of London, where volunteers combine fitness and community service, to races in the remote wilderness, where athletes push the limits of what a human can endure. Along the way, McGonigal paints a portrait of human nature that highlights our capacity for hope, cooperation, and self-transcendence.
The result is a revolutionary narrative that goes beyond familiar arguments in favor of exercise, to illustrate why movement is integral to both our happiness and our humanity. Readers will learn what they can do in their own lives and communities to harness the power of movement to create happiness, meaning, and connection.
About the Author
Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is a research psychologist, a lecturer at Stanford University, and an award-winning science writer. She is the author of the international bestseller The Willpower Instinct, The Upside of Stress, and Yoga for Pain Relief. Her work has been published in twenty-eight languages. Since 2000, she has taught dance, yoga, and group exercise in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Part scientific exploration, part inspirational story, part intimate love letter to physical activity, The Joy of Movement reveals how what many consider as just 'exercise' is actually so much more—a pathway to not only physical and mental health, but also love, connection, and community. Kelly has written a fascinating book that is a must-read for everyone, really."—Brad Stulberg, bestselling author of Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox; columnist at Outside Magazine
"As someone who has long believed that we were born to run, I was fascinated by Kelly McGonigal’s account of a much broader truth: We were born to move. Threading together unexpected insights from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, philosophy, and more, The Joy of Movement makes a compelling scientific case for the role of exercise in promoting pleasure, social connection, and hope."—Alex Hutchinson, New York Times-bestselling author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
"I love this book. Kelly McGonigal brings us to the cutting edge of exercise neuroscience that greatly expands our understanding."—John J. Ratey, MD, author of SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
"This book reminded me that no matter what injuries or obstacles I have to overcome, I can always find joy in movement, and I am stronger than I realize!"—Jessie Graff, American Ninja Warrior competitor and Action Icon Award Stuntwoman of the Year