Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise in the Brain

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In the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain by Dr. John J. Ratey, MD (2008), Ratey discuses how exercise can help treat many mood disorders and how it can help strengthen our brains. This book is divided into ten chapters all with five to ten subsections in them. The chapters include: Welcome to the revolution: A Case Study on Exercise and the brain, Learning, Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit, Addiction, Hormonal Changers, Aging, and the Regimen. The book begins by explaining how important exercise and being active is to our health and well-being. The author then transitions into a story about Naperville Central High School. This high school was in the forefront of a revolutionary new concept that involved vigorous exercise of its students instead of a traditional gym class. This new approach stimulated new research on the brain, and the effects of exercise on the well being of our body and minds. After the introduction of the new fitness programs, the school’s students showed drastic increases in standardized tests, and on normal tests as well. Learning is one of the things that help us survive. Darwin taught us that learning is the survival mechanism that we use to survive in our ever-changing environments. Our brains are designed to learn. They are plastic, meaning they can adapt, change and grow. In our brains there are neurotransmitters, and neurotrophins. They both have a role in turning different circuits on off, and getting different signals to different parts of our bodies. Some neurotrophins are called factory, and one of those is BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This chemical has been called, fertilizer for neurons. Exercise has been shown to increase BDNF leve... ... middle of paper ... ...rstand. Overall this was a great book. I have a great deal of interest in the brain. It is a truly amazing and fascinating organ. Its complexity bewilders not only researchers, and many neuroscientists but me as well. I also have somewhat of a passion for fitness and to learn how beneficial exercise can be, not only to our body’s health but the brain as well. It gives me a new understanding about a “workout”. The author did a great job explaining all of the very complicated processes that are involved in exercise’s wondrous benefits. Even though some of the information may have been boring, the way it was presented was not. This book was a great read and overall I would recommend it to any interested in exercise or the brain. Works Cited Ratey, John J. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. New York, NY: Little Brown and Company.

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