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Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
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“At every level, from the microcellular to the psychological, exercise not only wards off the ill effects of chronic stress; it can also reverse them. Studies show that if researchers exercise rats that have been chronically stressed, that activity makes the hippocampus grow back to its preshriveled state. The mechanisms by which exercise changes how we think and feel are so much more effective than donuts, medicines, and wine. When you say you feel less stressed out after you go for a swim, or even a fast walk, you are.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection. —Plato”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“exercise is as effective as certain medications for treating anxiety and depression.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Cognitive flexibility is an important executive function that reflects our ability to shift thinking and to produce a steady flow of creative thoughts and answers as opposed to a regurgitation of the usual responses. The trait correlates with high-performance levels in intellectually demanding jobs. So if you have an important afternoon brainstorming session scheduled, going for a short, intense run during lunchtime is a smart idea.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“like every other aspect of our psychology, motivation is biological.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Today, of course, there’s no need to forage and hunt to survive. Yet our genes are coded for this activity, and our brains are meant to direct it. Take that activity away, and you’re disrupting a delicate biological balance that has been fine-tuned over half a million years. Quite simply, we need to engage our endurance metabolism to keep our bodies and brains in optimum condition. The ancient rhythms of activity ingrained in our DNA translate roughly to the varied intensity of walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. In broad strokes, then, I think the best advice is to follow our ancestors’ routine: walk or jog every day, run a couple of times a week, and then go for the kill every now and then by sprinting.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“What it means is that you have the power to change your brain. All you have to do is lace up your running shoes.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Exercise Is Medicine,” so”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“physical activity counts as novel experience, at least as far as the brain is concerned.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“One of the prominent features of exercise, which is sometimes not appreciated in studies, is an improvement in the rate of learning,”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“In the context of stress, the great paradox of the modern age may be that there is not more hardship, just more news—and too much of it. The 24/7 streaming torrent of tragedy and demands flashing at us from an array of digital displays keeps the amygdala flying.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the mind, brain, and body all influence one another. In addition to feeling good when you exercise, you feel good about yourself,”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“It turns out that moving our muscles produces proteins that travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where they play pivotal roles in the mechanisms of our highest thought processes.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“the message I want to leave you with is that even as your body changes, exercise will keep your mind firm and taught.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“about the biology of stress and recovery, stress seems to have an effect on the brain similar to that of vaccines on the immune system. In limited doses, it causes brain cells to overcompensate and thus gird themselves against future demands. Neuroscientists call this phenomenon stress inoculation.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“What makes aerobic exercise so powerful is that it’s our evolutionary method of generating that spark. It lights a fire on every level of your brain, from stoking up the neurons’ metabolic furnaces to forging the very structures that transmit information from one synapse to the next.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“From an evolutionary perspective, exercise tricks the brain into trying to maintain itself for survival despite the hormonal cues that it is aging.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Getting older is unavoidable, but falling apart is not.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Over time, regular exercise also increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Scientists induced Parkinson’s in rats by killing the dopamine cells in their basal ganglia, and then forced half of them to run on a treadmill twice a day in the ten days following the “onset” of the disease. Incredibly, the runners’ dopamine levels stayed within normal ranges and their motor skills didn’t deteriorate. In one study on people with Parkinson’s, intensive activity improved motor ability as well as mood, and the positive effects lasted for at least six weeks after they stopped exercising.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“exercise has yet to be embraced as a medical treatment. It doesn’t simply raise serotonin or dopamine or norepinephrine. It adjusts all of them, to levels that, we can only presume, have been optimally programmed by evolution.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“BORN TO RUN In his book Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us about Running and Life, biologist Bernd Heinrich describes the human species as an endurance predator. The genes that govern our bodies today evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago, when we were in constant motion, either foraging for food or chasing antelope for hours and days across the plains. Heinrich describes how, even though antelope are among the fastest mammals, our ancestors were able to hunt them down by driving them to exhaustion—keeping on their tails until they had no energy left to escape. Antelope are sprinters, but their metabolism doesn’t allow them to go and go and go. Ours does. And we have a fairly balanced distribution of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers, so even after ranging miles over the landscape we retain the metabolic capacity to sprint in short bursts to make the kill.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“The amount of data in the world is doubling every few years, but our attention system, like the rest of the brain, was built to make sense of the surrounding environment as it existed ten thousand years ago.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“A little is good, and more is better.” The best, however, based on everything I’ve read and seen, would be to do some form of aerobic activity six days a week, for forty-five minutes to an hour. Four of those days should be on the longer side, at moderate intensity, and two on the shorter side, at high intensity.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Chronic stress is linked to some of our most deadly diseases.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“if you have an important afternoon brainstorming session scheduled, going for a short, intense run during lunchtime is a smart idea.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“The way you choose to cope with stress can change not only how you feel, but also how it transforms the brain. If you react passively or if there is simply no way out, stress can become damaging.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“By showing that exercise sparks the master molecule of the learning process, Cotman nailed down a direct biological connection between movement and cognitive function.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“Just as anxiety can feed on itself, so can courage.”
John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
“I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because,”
John J. Ratey, Spark!: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain

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