Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.
In Spark, John J. Ratey, M.D., embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer's. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, which has put this school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), Spark is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run---or, for that matter, simply the way you think.
©2008 John J. Ratey; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp
Inspiring, motivational, fascinating
As a nurse I've long known that exercise is good for us, but John Ratey reinforces why with plenty of terrific studies. The physiology is fascinating, the research current and all presented in a manner that we can apply to our every day lives. I highly recommend this book to all; those of us who already exercise and to those of us who need to.
Fascinating but with practical, useful information as well. As a neuroscience geek, I really enjoyed the book, especially its integrative approach with everything that's known about brain plasticity.
The narrator is excellent as well.
I listened to this entire book in just a few days. it is interesting and informative and life changing! I have new motivation to exercise! I never thought about how exercise could affect my mind and happiness. I highly recommend. Wonderful!
I find this book extremely useful. I prefer books that are scientifically strict and contain no pseudo-motivational bullshit. This book is a great example of how good material makes a great motivation itself.
I have no professional knowledge in medicine, yet still somehow the examples, terms and facts in the book are so really interesting. Yes, the author uses complicated terms quite often, but he really repeats them over and over and always explains briefly what they mean. If you're interested in a particular term, you can always google it and find out some more on the subject. But the book presents a great deal of fresh information, exciting studies and some personal stories. It covers aspects of exercising for different stages of life and genders. By reading it, you will not only understand how to take care of yourself, but how and why you should motivate other people to do exercises.
I'm a programmer and an entrepreneur and I really enjoy learning all the time and getting more knowledge. As well as I enjoy staying fit. But until I read this book, I couldn't mentally connect these two things. I've been lifting weights and doing my cardio for over 4 years now and I've always noticed how they make me feel better, but I didn't know why. And, sometimes the motivation for the workouts slipped away because I couldn't see the measurable results. Now, thanks to the book, I have another source of motivation, which is supported by hundreds of scientific studies and facts.
I don't often re-read books and have never listened to an audio book twice, but I found this book so fascinating and informative that I listened to it twice in a row. This book presents some startling evidence that exercise is not just good for our bodies, but how it actually alters and improves our minds through documented brain changes that take place after even a small amount of exercise. Presented in an accessible format, Ratey shows how doing what we were naturally built to do - move - is some of the best medicine we have, for both physical and mental ills - as well as a way to improve performance on mental tasks. While it would help to have some familiarity with basic neuro terms (like knowing what a neurotransmitter or a synapse is) it's not absolutely necessary' as he does a good job of simply explaining terms as he uses them. I am fascinated with "brain stuff" and have studied a fair amount in this area but learned more from listening to this book than I have from academic books that are specifically about how the brain works (perhaps having the examples of how movement and brain function interact helped to explain the brain part better). I think the listeners who found the book repetitive may have been expecting something other than what he provides here. The "news" comes right up front: exercise has a remarkable effect on the brain and our ability to think. This book provides the evidence, not a flashy sideshow of "breaking headlines". The evidence presented is a steady stream covering many different aspects, from effects on working memory to how exercise influences the treatment of ADHD, addictions, alzheimer's and many other conditions. The narrator generally does a good job, in well modulated tones, although he consistently mispronounces a few key terms (it drove me nuts to hear "hypothalamus" pronounced "hippothalamus" over and over - aren't there "editors" who listen to these audiobooks before releasing them?)
An excellent exercise motivator! This being a pop-science book it'll be most effective if you're a logically minded person or in need of some explicit reasons to overcome creeping apathy or procrastination. One of the best aspects of a book on exercise is that you can test and verify the essential ideas as they relate to your own experience; I often listened to the audiobook while jogging or at the gym. Knowing more about how something you're doing is good for you is an additional reward in itself, and for me this encapsulates the main value of reading this book.
The book is of course pro-exercise throughout its illustrative anecdotes and in its description of the physiological mechanisms involved, but it does look at a wide variety of experience, from physical pain to depression & mental disorders to everyday moods. Ratey isn't as good as a journalist or fiction writer, but he's clearly a doctor who's explained these ideas to patients and skeptics before, and he provides a reasonable and persuasive case for the substantially positive effects of exercising and elevating heart rate on a regular basis (i.e. in a manner consistent with natural human evolution).
Not a mainstream reader.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy and confined in a wheelchair for all of my life. I workout at least 3-5 times a week in the gym for at least 90 minutes each day. I know for a fact that working out help me physically and mentally. This book is great. When I'm in the gym, I forget that I'm even disable. More people should workout and promote fitness.
cold have been shorter only because the author makes the same point more than once. but they are good points. it is well established that regular exercise can improve mood. but this book trys to get into how this process happens. the author does seem to have a bias toward walking and running as the prefered forms of exercise for health. but just understanding how anything done for physical health affects mental health is a great place to start.
The simple message from the book is to do vigorous exercise daily or at least three times a week. Throughout the book is the science and stories about how exercise can improve the quality of life whether you're stressed or suffering from a disease. I think most people can relate to many of the topics in the book because they may be going through it or know someone who is, such as obesity, Alzheimer's, addiction, depression, and ADD. Even for topics that I didn't find to be relevant in my life, I found the scientific evidence fascinating. Whereas medication almost always have side effects, exercising isn't harmful. As long as people can keep slowly work up to a vigorous pace and do it consistently, they'll see that exercising is good medicine.
Scientific, informative, and enlightening explanation of the effect of exercise on brain chemistry. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or ADD, this book will help you understand more about your condition and how exercise can help you.
"Spark to your training !!!!!"
Yes. This book offers the reader a really insightful look at the connections between exercise and the mind.
The interest it has 'Sparked' in my own training routine and that the benefits it has thought me has lead to real improvements in both my fitness level and state of mind.
The authors heartfelt belief in his years of study and research is brought to life by the narrator.
The fact that the author believes so strongly that the connection between fitness and the mind and its ability to treat depression is an interesting concept that you can put to the test, if your feeling a little blue.....go for a run !!!! Okay not that simple but is the basis of the concept.
Well, well, well worth a read if you are looking for an inspirational kick for your fitness goals.
This book focusede on the main problem we have in the modern world today. As well as showing what the solution is.
The fact that I am interested in health and preventative care.
Yes for sure.
The narrrator, only character.
No. It was scientific. It gave me hope though.
I would reccomend.
"Thought provoking, energising and inspiring!"
It was great to hear theories I had backed up by solid real life examples. It is just a shame we don't take these very simple steps to a healthy world. We would all feel so much better if we just made a start and schools are a great place to start.
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