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Spark

The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Narrated by: Walter Dixon
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.74

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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking and fascinating investigation into the transformative effects of exercise on the brain, from the bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD.

Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

In Spark, John J. Ratey, M.D., embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer's. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, which has put this school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), Spark is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run---or, for that matter, simply the way you think.

©2008 John J. Ratey (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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very educational

the educational side of this was fabulous. good research base to provide accurate information valuable to working in mental health.

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So good

I thought I had fairly solid knowledge of the brain-exercise connection but this book opened my eyes and changed the way I look at it. If you are anxious, depressed, hormonal, old, fat, lazy, unmotivated and over it, this book will help you see the plethora of reasons why and how you should get moving. No regrets.

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Reconnected My Old Self

Really enjoyed this audio book, it added to my exercise fuel and taught me so much- fantastic book

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Worth it!

An essential read for anyone in the health or fitness industries. Completely blows open the perspective of why exercise is beneficial. Would recommend to everyone.

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Educational and relatable!

Definitely worth listening to. I love the framework of stating a point and providing a short story to drive home the point/s.

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Great eye opener for anyone about mental health

As a trainer this book was a great look into how exercise really effects mental health and health in general. Me myself have suffered ptsd and suicidal thought patterns and have always used mixed martial arts especially jiu jitsu to help keep me focused and keeps the endorphins flowing. I would recommend for anyone feeling not quite themselves and not sure why or people wanting to know the truth about what exercise done in the brain instead of marketing ploys businesses use to make profits. Love your work and be kind to your mind

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Good, but...

I liked it but the science is sometimes difficult to follow for non scientific people.

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Excellent

I have ADHD, and I've been told a thousand times that exercise is hugely important in my management strategy, but no matter how many times I was told this by doctors, psychologists and other specialists, I never paid much heed. So many doctors give general recommendations as a matter of routine, I'm used to ignoring a lot of them. But knowing the exact reasons WHY it's so important, especially with the scientific explanations, has made me actually take it seriously. This book totally changed the way I view exercise, and it's become a non-negotiable priority for me.

The only negative for me is that when delving into the actual science, explanations of biochemistry and stuff, it was hard to keep up with all the terminology at times - names of neurotransmitters, all their respective functions etc. This is inherent with the subject matter in the audio format though - the science can't be explained without using the correct terms, but when listening you can't slow down for the more complex parts. Some books I've given up going and bought the kindle version instead because they were way too dense for audio, but this one isn't that bad, and overall is quite engaging and easy enough to take in.

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A must read!

Vitally important topic in our modern world. Whilst you can easily grasp the message of the book quickly I quite enjoyed the Science behind the results and the repetition of the key message. The narrator has a great voice and I had no trouble listening to this for lengthy periods of time. I've even started running again!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just Do It

Exercise is a must for every individual and the desire to change is essential in this world today

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ianatyler
  • 10-09-2014

slow start but well worth the wait

Would you listen to Spark again? Why?

yes clear easy to listen to

Any additional comments?

just what the doctor ordered.
Highly interesting links between exercise and overall mental and physical health. Well worth the money

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 02-12-2013

Spark to your training !!!!!

Would you listen to Spark again? Why?

Yes. This book offers the reader a really insightful look at the connections between exercise and the mind.

What did you like best about this story?

The interest it has 'Sparked' in my own training routine and that the benefits it has thought me has lead to real improvements in both my fitness level and state of mind.

What does Walter Dixon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The authors heartfelt belief in his years of study and research is brought to life by the narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The fact that the author believes so strongly that the connection between fitness and the mind and its ability to treat depression is an interesting concept that you can put to the test, if your feeling a little blue.....go for a run !!!! Okay not that simple but is the basis of the concept.

Any additional comments?

Well, well, well worth a read if you are looking for an inspirational kick for your fitness goals.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • 08-07-2013

Loved it

What made the experience of listening to Spark the most enjoyable?

The fact that I am interested in health and preventative care.

Would you ever listen to anything by John J. Ratey again?

Yes for sure.

Which character – as performed by Walter Dixon – was your favourite?

The narrrator, only character.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. It was scientific. It gave me hope though.

Any additional comments?

I would reccomend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • E
  • 13-04-2013

Thought provoking, energising and inspiring!

It was great to hear theories I had backed up by solid real life examples. It is just a shame we don't take these very simple steps to a healthy world. We would all feel so much better if we just made a start and schools are a great place to start.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jens
  • 19-08-2013

Exelent book

What did you like most about Spark?

This book focusede on the main problem we have in the modern world today. As well as showing what the solution is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-03-2019

Very informative and inspiring

Great and well-researched book. It made me start a running habit. As a science student, I enjoy knowing the actual scientific facts on what happens biologically and hormonally from things such as exercise. This book lays that out well along with anecdotes and patient stories to relate to reality a bit.
It's true that there are many mentions of the hormones, growth factors and brain areas involved, but this is not a bad thing - you don't need to understand or even remember them all to get the message.

Highly recommended for anybody, especially those looking to improve their mental health or function!

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  • T B.
  • 19-02-2019

Informative and interesting read

I challenge anyone to read this book and still not engage in regular exercise. The evidence presented is very convincing! Great combination of scientific evidence and also real case examples to back up his points.

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  • mr
  • 18-12-2018

Connecting the dots

I've loved this book from start to finish. It's helped me understand so much about myself and my movement practice. As someone with adhd and past problems with depression and anxiety the information in this book is priceless. Also moving forward As a future coach this information is so valuable as a way to show people why keeping a consistent exercise routine is so important.

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  • C. E. Scurr
  • 16-11-2018

Very well worth...

...a listen.

Information provided is clear and encouraging, motivation for even the most sedentary of us. Highly recommend listening to this if you have any mental health challenges.

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  • M.W.
  • 10-11-2018

A book everyone needs to listen/read.

Indispensable info for a good life and health, a must read for young and old people.