Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dr. John J. Ratey’s Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain: A Book Review

Click the image to purchase.
Dr. John J. Ratey’s Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain works to expand upon the classical principle of sound mind and sound body. Written in a basic style and segmented into chapters based upon societal curiosities and problems, the text examines what exactly exercise does to the brain both short term and long term. While a tad repetitive in his later chapters since most of the science had been covered early on, Ratey digs into what exercise does to the brain and all of the practical applications that simple aerobic work has to the daily life of well, anyone. In terms of education, pregnancy, and depression, Ratey digs into the physiological alterations. For example, in an era where the push to improve education has resulted in less physical education, Ratey notes how the educational process is enhanced, not hindered, through exercise. He points to school districts that have PE every day, segmented not by games but by goals, and in doing so reveals how these students score among the highest in the country on standardized tests. With depression, he lays the case for the positive benefits of exercise, especially in concert with current treatments. While not a book of medical advice per se, the well cited studies and real world examples should do more than make one think, but rather force one to consider their lifestyle (and communicate with their doctors). A strong read overall, especially for those interested in the topic.