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John J. Ratey

One may assume that does this book adds sparkle to one’s life hence the author may have given the name “Spark”. The contents of the book may partially bring spark in your life.

So what exactly is this book about? If I want to summarize this book in three words then what I would say the author is giving the message “Physical Exercise, physical exercise , physical exercise” will bring spark in your life.

The book is written very scientifically with detailed case studies how exercise improves the overall life of human beings. So lazy people can take inspiration from this book and try to implement exercise in their daily routine.

The scientific words of wisdom from this book are:

  • It was already known that exercise increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine—important neurotransmitters that traffic in thoughts and emotions.
  • Darwin taught us that learning is the survival mechanism we use to adapt to constantly changing environments. Inside the microenvironment of the brain, that means forging new connections between cells to relay information.
  • When we learn something, whether it’s a French word or a salsa step, cells morph in order to encode that information; the memory physically becomes part of the brain.
  • Serotonin, is often called the policeman of the brain because it helps keep brain activity under control. It influences mood, impulsivity, anger, and aggressiveness. We use serotonin drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), for instance, because they help modify runaway brain activity that can lead to depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsiveness.
  • Norepinephrine, which was the first neurotransmitter scientists studied to understand mood, often amplifies signals that influence attention, perception, motivation, and arousal.
  • Dopamine, which is thought of as the learning, reward (satisfaction),attention, and movement neurotransmitter, takes on sometimes contradictory roles in different parts of the brain.
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin) eases attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by raising dopamine, thus calming the mind.
  • There is metaphor that brain acts as a muscle, and the notion of use it or lose it.
  • Stress sparks brain growth.
  • Our brain often exhibits fight-or-flight response depending on the circumstances.
  • The brain’s panic button, called the amygdala, sets off the chain reaction on receiving sensory input about a possible threat to the body’s natural equilibrium. Being hunted would certainly qualify, but so would being the hunter.
  • The amygdala’s job is to assign intensity to the incoming information, which may or may not be obviously survival related. It’s not just about fear, but any intense emotional state, including, for example, euphoria or sexual arousal.

So if you are scientific buff or questioner kind of person who wants to know whether Exercise is essential then this book is for you.