Spark!: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain Paperback – 7 Jan 2010
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Forget fish oil and sudoku - it's exercise that makes you brainier . This book is the first time scientific evidence from all over the world has been pulled together to show that the fitter you are, the better your brain works' Daily Mail. (Daily Mail)
If exercise came in pill form, it would be plastered across the front page, hailed as the blockbuster drug of the century. So what you waiting for? Get moving!' Focus Magazine. (Focus Magazine)
From the Back Cover
Do you want to: Supercharge your thinking? Beat stress? Reverse ageing? Lift your mood? Fight memory loss? Sharpen your intellect?
The answer is simple - get up and move!
We all know that exercise is good for the body. But did you know that it can transform your mind? This new scientific revolution will teach you how to boost brain cells, protect yourself against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in exams and the workplace.
Follow the SPARK! training regimen and build your brain to its peak performance. This book will change the way you think about exercise - and, for that matter, the way you think.
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Top Customer Reviews
Spark is an excellent summary of the brain research during the last decade or so that has added to our knowledge of how regular aerobic exercise stimulates better and more effective mental activity. Dr. Ratey considers the impact of such exercise on school-age children . . . and adults with stress, anxiety, depression, attention deficits, hormonal changes, and aging bodies. He also recommends a general exercise regime that seems to optimize what we know today from these studies.
The essence of the book can be found in the observation that optimal brain functioning requires plenty of blood, the right nutrients, a balance of body chemicals designed to help the brain operate, and an ability to grow new cells and connections in the brain. Each of these elements is helped by regular aerobic exercise. The results are often measurable within a few weeks.
So if you thought that aerobic exercise was simply about looking and feeling good, you're wrong. It's also about thinking well and being able to learn. There are longevity and other quality of life benefits as well . . . including reduced incidence of disease and less chance of dementia.
The book also explores that you don't have to do a tremendous amount of exercise to get most of the benefits.
Exercise does this by boosting BDGF and rebalancing the levels of sertraline, norepinephrine (noradrenalin) and dopamine and by helping it get the right balance of excitatory and inhibitory traffic across synapses. The microscopic effects lead on the good macroscopically observable (psychological) effects we can feel and observe. Oh and the exercise is helping your body develop well too.
By the time you have read this book you will have come to realise that exercise is a GOOD THING for your brain and your body. As animals we are meant to move, and we feel better when we travel a certain distance each day under our own efforts.
The real question is does the author establish his case fully? I think mostly he does, but we are taking a lot on trust here. It is obvious in the text that at times the author is referring to specific papers (as he should be in a text making large claims as this one does). The corresponding references are not given so we have to take the author's assertion and we cannot check the references for ourselves. So we are having to take the facts presented on trust...although the author does come across as trustworthy. The lack of references does make for faster reading, but as the book is not long they could have been given.(..Read more ›
Here are some of the questions to which he responds:
What are some of the most common misconceptions about "the brain-body connection"?
What in fact is true?
How can aerobic exercise physically remodel our brains for peak performance?
Why is physical exercise the best defense against addiction, aggression, ADD, menopause, and even Alzheimer's?
What are the most significant revelations of a fitness program sponsored by the Naperville (IL) public school district in which more than 19,000 children participated?
Why should such a program (with necessary modifications) be made available to other school children?
In the absence of such a program, what can parents do to increase their children's physical exercise? What sacrifices (if any) must be made to accomplish that?
At a minimum, how frequently should we exercise...and for how long?
What are the benefits to be gained even from minimal exercise?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Accessible theory on the very powerful benefits of exercise. Well worth reading and putting into practice for young and old.Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Must read for anybody from PE teachers to GP`s and education policy makers and of course general public. Just get out there and start moving. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Hard going after the first chapter but I get the point. Always have.Published 4 months ago by Elsilrac
Large book to chew through but very interesting and valid research to understand the connection between the mind and body.Published 6 months ago by Jo Clarke
We all no exercise is good for the body, but what a out the brainPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
The information Dr Ratey shares in this book makes you wonder why we, as a human race, are not promoting exercise as being as important as having enough to eat and drink each day.Published 9 months ago by Tony H
Amazing insight into why I feel so good when I run and why I need to keep it up! Very interesting book and one I read very quickly!Published 10 months ago by Rosie
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