Lately, I have been using my treadmill and elliptical trainer with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. The reason? I just finished reading the book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by John J. Ratey, MD
I had seen enough statistics over the years that demonstrate how helpful exercise is for just about any condition known to man, be it hypertension, diabetes, heart disease ….. you name it. I had also seen data on the effects of exercise on some mental disorders such as depression and ADHD. But I have never seen all the evidence combined in one place on the profound positive effects that exercise, mainly aerobic exercise, has on brain function.
I grew up with the belief that every cell on our body renews itself except for the brain cells. You are born with so many, and it only goes downhill from there. This has been soundly disproven. The brain can grow new cells and make new connections but it needs some MIRACLE GRO fertilizer, and that fertilizer is EXERCISE.
I cannot recommend this book more. There are some on the Amazon book review who consider this book “really, really boring” since it reads like a textbook. Well …. I could not put it down. There is a line in this book that just struck me:
“If you are not busy living, your body is busy dying.”