Exercise For The Body And The Brain

Exercise For The Body And The Brain

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

John Ratey, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and renowed author of Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is an inquisitive and learned advocate of the relationship between exercise and the brain’s performance. In Spark, Dr. Ratey shows how even moderate exercise can supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking and enhance memory.

We all know that exercise makes us feel better, but most of us have no idea why. We assume it’s because we’re burning off stress or reducing muscle tension or boosting endorphins, and we leave it at that.

But the real reason we feel so good when we get our blood pumping is that it makes the brain function at its best, and in my view, this benefit of physical activity is far more important — and fascinating — than what it does for the body. Building muscles and conditioning the heart and lungs are essentially side effects. I often tell my patients that the point of exercise is to build and condition the brain
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