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Joyful Movement

Presented by Kelly McGonigal, PhD

Presenter Bio

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a Health Psychologist and Lecturer at Stanford University. She has been a certified fitness instructor for twenty years, teaching dance, yoga, and functional movement to participants of ages and abilities. She is the author of The Willpower Instinct, The Upside of Stress, and Yoga for Pain Relief. Her latest book, The Joy of Movement, explores how physical activity can be a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Movement—through exercise, social activities, everyday routines, sports, and recreation—can contribute positively to mental well-being. People who are physically active are happier and more satisfied with their lives, have a stronger sense of purpose, and feel more connected to their communities. Physical activity can also support the mental health of people living with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and addiction. The psychological and social benefits of maintaining or increasing physical activity have been documented around the world, across the lifespan, and among individuals who also experience significant barriers to regular exercise. Importantly, these benefits are not dependent on weight loss, physical ability, or health status. Instead, they are the result of movement experiences that are accessible, personally meaningful, and enjoyable.

This workshop will explore why physical activity is such a powerful resource for enhancing mental health. We’ll consider biological, psychological, and social mechanisms, including how physical activity can make the brain more resilient to stress and sensitive to joy; how movement can alter self-image and personal narratives; and why moving with others creates belonging and hope. Drawing on insights from the science of behavior change, we’ll look at how to increase motivation for, meaning from, and commitment to physical activity. We’ll also explore common barriers and obstacles to physical activity, and strategies for reducing or overcoming them.
Participants will be invited to examine each of these topics through the dual perspectives of self-care and empowering others. We will reflect on personal experiences with movement, consider how to increase meaningful and enjoyable physical activity in our own lives, and explore ways to help others find activities and movement communities that can enhance their mental well-being.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe psychological outcomes associated with regular physical activity, in both the general population and in clinical studies, such as exercise interventions for depression.
  2. Explain several mechanisms for how physical activity can benefit mental well-being, including biological, psychological, and social, with examples of common and accessible activities that harness each mechanism.
  3. Identify common barriers and obstacles to physical activity, including those related to past experiences, social identities, cultural attitudes about exercise, access and resources, and physical or mental health challenges.
  4. Differentiate among motivations for and mindsets about physical activity that are more versus less effective at helping individuals commit to, and sustain, increased activity levels.
  5. Describe steps to finding, and making routine, meaningful and enjoyable movement experiences.

Instructional Level


Licensed mental health professionals employed through Kaiser Permanente and psychological assistants performing under supervision of a licensed psychologist.

This CE program is free to Kaiser Permanente employees.

Instructional Methodology

  • Lecture
  • Audio/Visual
  • On-line Presentation

Continuing Education Information

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Refund and Attendance Policy

All programs offered on KP Learn for CE credit through the KP Northern California Mental Health Training website are free of charge to Kaiser Permanente Staff and trainees. Once a course is selected in the KP NCAL MH Training Website, the registration process begins, and it will appear in the individuals KP Learn profile for completion within 90 days.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Those who attend the program in full and complete the appropriate evaluation form will receive CE credits. Please note that credit will only be granted to those who attend the entire program. An attestation of attendance will be given once the individual has completed viewing the program, which will then initiate the final steps of completing the evaluation forms to receive a certificate of completion.

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