Article Dr. Ratey explores scientific grounds to explain why exercise is the single most effective tool to improve the brain. 0 2022 Life coaching https://www.lifecoachhub.com/img/uploads/articles/thumbs/1154_1662482466.jpg Wellness coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Spark Book Review : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

POSTED BY:
 
TAGS: coaching, life coaching, business coaching, coach, life coach, self help, personal development exercise, mind-body connection

Spark book review, book authored by John Ratey, exercise, coaching tip

Did you know that by increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat, you can relieve stress, improve your mood, prevent memory loss, sharpen your brain, and perform better than ever? There is no disputing the fact that aerobic exercise physically changes our brains to optimize performance.

John J. Ratey, M.D., takes readers on an engrossing and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. He presents shocking research that shows exercise is our best line of defense against a variety of conditions.

The benefits of exercise to the body are obvious, even if many people choose to ignore them. Less obvious, though, is how important exercise is to the brain. 

According to John Ratey, many psychiatrists are still dragging their feet on integrating the health benefits of exercise into their treatment, even in the face of overwhelming positive evidence. This makes it even more important to publicize this evidence so the general public can benefit from it, and this book does a good job of doing just that.

Ratey integrates numerous scientific studies with his own personal experiences and case studies to create an argument that is both personal and well-supported. From the introductory study of a school district in the US that has had incredible success with its everyday exercise program (just 3% of students are overweight and the district has the highest test scores IN THE WORLD) to studies on exercise in depressed individuals, the evidence clearly shows the effect exercise has on both intelligence and mood.

walking, jogging, exercise, Spark book review, John Ratey, coaching tip

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary of Spark

The first two chapters of the book fight the stereotype of the dumb jock, focusing on how exercise makes the body release chemicals that make new brain cells grow, and how combining aerobic activity with some kind of exercise or sport that requires coordination can help those new brain cells form connections. It quotes several studies in which exercising before a memorization task helps improve retention.

The third chapter contains an excellent review of stress and how it affects the body and mind. Exercise, though itself stressful, is a controllable form of acute stress, and thus helps maintain cells and muscle fibers, as well as regulate important hormones. It has also been shown to reverse some of the negative long-term effects of stress.


Exercise, though itself stressful, is a controllable form of acute stress, and thus helps maintain cells and muscle fibers, as well as regulate important hormones. 


The middle third of the book devotes a chapter to various ailments, including depression and addiction, and describes how exercise can help to rebalance whatever system is failing in each. My main complaint about the book is that this section gets a bit repetitive because many of the studies are so similar. It felt like the chapter on attention deficit disorder could simply have said “Pretty much everything I said about exercise and depression works here as well.” But, that’s how science works… you have to have evidence for everything.

Finally, the book wraps up with specific chapters on exercising for women and in old age, with the conclusion again being that exercise will balance your hormone levels and maintain neurons. Although it’s difficult to recommend a specific exercise regimen to everyone, Ratey does a good job of detailing what various types of exercise will do and how they can help.

Spark book review, exercise makes the body release chemicals that make new brain cells grow, coaching tip

  • www.lifecoachhub.com

Key Takeaways from Spark

John Ratey is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He discusses the many advantages of exercise, particularly cardio-intensive activities such as running and biking in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Through a mix of interviews, fieldwork as a clinical researcher, and an in-depth review of the most recent scientific literature, he comes to the conclusion that regular, moderate-to-high intensity cardio permanently enhances not only physical health but also mental and psychological health too. Here are the other lessons you’ll learn in this book:

1. The most effective method you have to enhance brain function is exercise.

You get tougher both physically and mentally through exercise. Just think your brain is just another muscle you’re working out, it gets stronger the more you use it. 

According to German researchers mentioned in the book, interval training enhances learning capacity. The rate of vocabulary learning of the participants increased by 20% as a result of 2x3-min sprints during a 40-minute treadmill run.

Exercise enhances learning in three ways:

  • Your mindset is adjusted to increase concentration and motivation.
  • Your nerve cells bind more to one another which is the biological foundation for memory retention and learning.
  • Your hippocampus’ stem cells are pushed to produce new nerve cells.

Regular, moderate-to-high intensity cardio permanently enhances not only physical health but also mental and psychological health too.


It's better to exercise every day, but even exercising intermittently can make a difference too!

Did you know? While you can't learn in the middle of doing intense exercise, immediately afterward, you can improve your vocabulary memorization speed by 20%, Spark book review, coaching tip

2. Exercise helps you in a LOT of ways.

  • Helps you become more sociable. When we increase our physical activity, we become more socially active since it builds our confidence and gives us the chance to network. Exercise gives us energy and motivation, which helps in creating and maintaining social bonds.
  • Helps you become calmer. Regular exercise also aids in lowering anxiety levels in the general population.
  • Helps battle depression. Exercise boosts dopamine and serotonin - both of which improve mood. Dopamine helps you become more attentive and motivated while serotonin raises your self-esteem.
  • Helps sharpen focus. This is where revolutionary new science enters the picture. At the cellular level, exercise remodels the brain to increase its capacity of the brain to register and process new information.
  • Helps combat harmful addictions. Exercise reduces the desire to smoke because it also reduces physical irritation, which is a common side effect of quitting smoking. Exercise can prolong the time until the next smoke by two to three times and stave off cravings for fifty minutes.
  • Helps prolong life! Your brain is dying if it isn't actively growing. Exercise reduces the normal reduction of stress threshold, making it one of the few methods to combat aging.

Your mood, your capacity to pay attention, and your ability to learn are just a few of the things that are directly affected by the health of your brain, which is the major control center of your body. Ratey is trying to tell you that maintaining your entire physical well-being should be a top concern since it is so closely tied to brain performance. He is trying to persuade us all to incorporate exercise into our daily routines.

Did you know regular exercise is what kept the author's mother alive and well into her late 80s. And all it took was speed walking, Spark book review, coaching tip

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the effects of exercise, or who just needs a little extra motivation to get off the couch, because Ratey’s enthusiasm and practical evidence will both enlighten and motivate you. Unfortunately, he doesn’t list his references at the end, so anyone looking to check his arguments will have to search for the studies he mentions. For this reason, and because of the repetition in the middle, I give the book four stars out of five.

FAQs

1. What is the main idea in the book Spark?

Both our physical and mental health depend on exercise. There is a very strong link between our bodies and minds. We can lessen the symptoms of a variety of psychological problems and a variety of dangerous conditions by staying active.

Being active and working up a sweat can relieve your stress, improve your mood, prevent memory loss, sharpen your brain, and make you perform better than ever. In Spark, Dr. Ratey tours you through the intricacies of the mind-body connection. He goes through surprising research and case studies to explain how exercise helps combat conditions such as depression, addiction, aggression, and menopause.

Spark is the first book ever to thoroughly cover the relationship between exercise and the brain. After this book, you might not look at morning runs the same way again!

2. Who wrote the book Spark?

John Joseph Ratey, M.D. is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The works Driven to Distraction, Answers to Distraction, and Delivered from Distraction are co-authored by him and Edward Hallowell.

3. What is the link between exercise and the brain?

Aerobic exercises physically remodel our brains for maximum productivity; it’s not just a myth, it’s backed by science. According to Dr. Ratey in his book, exercising impacts your brain’s circuits, lowers muscle tension, and boosts dopamine and serotonin which improves your mood.


 


  • www.amazon.com

Contact me

SHARING HELPS OUR COACHES


  • www.lifecoachhub.com

COMMENTS

  • www.lifecoachhub.com
  • www.lifecoachhub.com
  • www.lifecoachhub.com




  • www.lifecoachhub.com
The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, recommended treatments, or professional advice. Readers should consult with a licensed professional to get advice for their individual situation. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for more information. Copyright Life Coach Hub Ltd 2016. A community of life coaches dedicated to improving your life.
We Noticed You're Blocking Ads
We rely on advertisers to help support our free coaching advice.
Please whitelist us.