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