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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct introduces a surprising science-based audiobook 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. Listeners will learn what they can do in their own lives and communities to harness the power of movement to create happiness, meaning, and connection.

©2019 Kelly McGonigal (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"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, best-selling author of Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox; columnist at Outside magazine)

What listeners say about The Joy of Movement

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Academic - Not a Self-Help Book

First, I am a huge fan of Kelly McGonical and her book, the Willpower Instinct, is a must read/listen. However, I thought this was going to be a guidebook or motivational book for someone wanting to develop a real exercise habit. It is not - at least not up to the to 3 1/2 hours point when I reached my limit.

The book is an academic discussion of the physical exercise, especially group exercise and exercise at high intensity. I am a nerd so it is not that the content is not understandable, but at least for me, it is essentially irrelevant.

My recommendation is to know what you are buying and if you are not sure, go to Google Books and read a little of this book before purchasing so you are not disappointed.



25 people found this helpful

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Very motivating

I have not been very active in a long time. While I knew most of the benefits she listed, listening certainly has made me want to get up and run. There are very inspiring stories in here.

7 people found this helpful

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Great at first

The beginning of the book reeled me in hard. I loved all the studies and data. The anecdotes complimented the message. The first half, at least, is five stars for me. It started to drag however. For me it got too sentimental and there were fewer and fewer studies cited. The anecdotes stopped having their power that they did at the start. If I didn’t so badly want to finish just because I started I would have stopped a few chapters in.

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The research was interesting, but...

The research was interesting. I listened to the entire book on account of a book club I’m part of. There were too many testimonies and reviews that took away from what I thought could have been a very interesting storyline. Being physically active and living a healthy lifestyle are all important to me. I’ve worked in the fitness field when I was younger and now working in the medical field, I didn’t learn anything new, nor did this book encourage or motivate me in anyway. If it weren’t for my book club, I wouldn’t have finished it.

4 people found this helpful

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Good but could have been 2/3 shorter

Lots of short stories but I was looking more of a guide to methodology etc.

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Perfect for fitness instructors and regular people

The content of this book struck deep chords within me as a human being and a person who enjoys exercise. The author/ narrator has a smooth and soothing voice that inspires the listener to get up and get moving with their fellow man just for the joy of it.

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Wonderful book!

Great book about human movement with real stories and science backed facts! Really enjoyed this. If you have any interest in fitness/ movement/kinesiology read it! Voice over is nice/soothing too

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Loved it!

I’m happy to say this book inspired me and encouraged me to get some kind of movement in my life as many days as I can! So many moving stories too!
Thanks for this book!

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Must read

Life is about movement and this books, tells you how you can find the Joy of moving

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love the mix of science and stories

Kelly did a wonderful job marrying stories and science to bring us a very good understanding is why movement is so important to our lives. thank you!

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  • A Customer
  • 05-22-20

Not much science here

Possibly because of the description this title was a total disappointment. Not much science just anecdote after anecdote about how much people enjoy exercise. The title of the book then is reasonably accurate but the description might lead to unfulfilled expectations. Unlike exercise, which I enjoy and commit to, I gave up on the book halfway through.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-12-20

A book to fill your heart and ignite your hope.

What a wonderful book to help get you excited about getting back in to exercise.
I cant wait to start running again and this really resounded with me in terms of how exercise can help ignite hope.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marcell
  • 03-17-21

I Love This Book

Can not listen to this book enough times! Extremely useful interesting and hear warming at the same time, was not expecting this.
Thank you so much!

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  • Crispy
  • 11-04-20

Super listen

Lovely stories and really simple and effective guide to why we should be active.

Feeling a bit blue, move, it doesn’t matter what you do or who you do it with; just move :)

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  • rosemary Richards
  • 11-10-20

Triple A for boosting mental wellbeing

Kelly has been my constant morning companion (through audible) over the past few weeks. I head out the door to see the sunrise and listen to Kelly as I go. I’m amazed at how I’ve been so inspired by Kelly as I walk, climb the steep stairs and run around the coast. My efforts prior to Kelly were lacking direction and motivation. I walked, but slowly. I was saying to myself, “oh that’s ok for today”. Now I go a little further inspired by hearing of others who’ve done the same and the benefits they’ve gained.

I’ve lifted out of the depression I was experiencing and I’m enjoying days filled with a joy and calm I haven’t experienced for sometime. I just finished listening to the book today but will start it all again from the beginning tomorrow.

It’s full of excellent scientific research and anecdotal stories that have me thinking about movement in a whole new way. It is accessible to me! I can do it! A wonderful surprise to be increasing my activity and movement at 61 rather than slowing down. I want to get stronger and I believe I can.

No other book or gym or coach has inspired me so much to move. And I can tell you I’ve tried a few!

I hope you enjoy this book and Kelly as much as I have and you join me on the merry road of moving more and increased mental wellbeing

Thank you Kelly, what a magnificent effort you gone to for us all!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-22-20

so inspiring!

I absolutely loved this book! It's been so fascinating to read and learn and be inspired! I've been telling everyone about it!