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Spark the revolutionary new science of exercise and the Brain by John J Ratey

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Exercise is extremely good for you and you should do it!

Starts with case studies about children & exercise. An interesting example of a cohort of children who did ‘zero-hours exercise’.  This was exercise before school to achieve their target heart rate, these children then could focus more in school and the school achieved significant improvements to their national exams results.

Goes on to outline evidence behind exercise for treating depression, anxiety and ADHD (to name a few, also even mentions Parkinson’s disease). One of the benefits of exercise, other than physical well-being, is it can change both the neuroanatomy and the function of various neurotransmitters.

Contains a lot of information about neurotransmitters, how exercise can boost and assist the modulation of neurotransmitters.

Mentions the SMILE trial.  This examined exercise and pharmacotherapy as treatments for patients with major depression, found exercise provided a similar benefit to antidepressants and can also augments the effectiveness of antidepressants in people with major depression.

For anxiety exercise can be useful as not only can it increase people’s wellbeing, the person may learn to overcome the autonomic symptoms of a panic attack. As fast heart rate and sweating experienced from a panic attack is similar to body’s response to exercise.  Being able to actually control this sensation, via exercise can be very useful.

It’s quite a lengthy book, if you are interested in learning about this in detail worth reading, otherwise my succinct summary is: exercise is good for your mind and body!

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