Kelly McGonigal has taken a message I learned in 1984 and looked at complex science of it, and simplified it again down to Joy of Movement… and she’s done it by storytelling. As an exercise and sports psychology expert, I am trained in not only the exercise physiology and kinesiology but in the mindset of exercise and behavior change.
I was drawn to the book because I’d already been a fan of the author through The Willpower Instinct, and The Upside of Stress, her earlier works. I chose an audible book and I’ll tell you that the evidence of a good book for me is, the sense of loss when it’s done.
This book does that. If you ever find yourself wondering if you have time to exercise, or wonder why bother if it’s not helping you lose weight which you think is the reason to exercise… listen to it. And I say listen because it’s her voice. So when the reader says “I” it’s truly her experience.
This book is rich with science and evidence-based reasons to exercise… but it’s told in one story to the next. My guest has a gift for it.
And Kelly isn’t an Ironman or an Olympian, she’s you and I. She’s someone that teaches fitness classes and realizes the much greater depth of benefits than reducing a resting heart rate, or the scale, or toning up arms.
And when you listen … you will too. Not because the science is compelling – it is. But because the stories are and the people in them are real and have gone through more and less and similar life situations as you and I have.
Not started? Here’s how to start. Start small. One day for 5 days. For 15 minutes.
Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection. As a pioneer in the field of “science-help,” her mission is to translate insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support personal well-being and strengthen communities.
She is the best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress. You might also know her from her TED talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” which is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with over 20 million views.
Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, she helped create Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training, a program now taught around the world that helps individuals strengthen their empathy, compassion, and self-compassion.
In January 2020, Oprah Magazine honored her ability to “transform scientific data into wisdom” by naming McGonigal the first ever O! Visionary, people whose groundbreaking way of seeing the world mean a better future for us all.
Her new book, The Joy of Movement, explores why physical exercise is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Questions We Answer in This Episode:
- What made you write this book? Published in 2019.. How did awareness and sales change in 2020 and 2021? When the general public was learning more than ever about the importance of mental and physical health?
- Exercise has helped you deal with anxiety. How does that work for you?
- What advice do you have for people who think they don’t like exercise in any form, or aren’t at all active right now?
- You were already an exercise enthusiast before writing this book. Did you learn anything while writing that book that changed how you think about or engage in exercise?
- You say that exercise changes the brain in ways that make us happier and more resilient. Can you share with us a few of the ways that exercise changes the brain?
- You write that exercise can be a powerful antidepressant. How does physical activity prevent or reduce depression?
- Physical activity is especially powerful at building social connections. Why is that? And to a community of women here… who are doing it by choice or by circumstance … virtually not simultaneously, yet with the knowledge others are too, say a little about how that may be beneficial for them.
Connect with Kelly:
Kelly on Social:
Kelly McGonigal Book:
Other Episodes You Might Like:
Why Creativity Matters More in Midlife Movement (how to get it): https://www.flippingfifty.com/creativity-matters/
LET’S GET PHYSICAL | History of Women’s Fitness: https://www.flippingfifty.com/get-physical/
From Sorry Symptoms to Happy Hormones: https://www.flippingfifty.com/from-sorry-symptoms-to-happy-hormones/