Author(s): Dr. John Ratey and Eric Hagerman
Report Published: On Launch
Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School has thankfully made it his life mission to educate on and prescribe the most effective medicine known to humankind – exercise. Nowhere does he do this better than through his life changing book Spark.
Spark is an incredible journey into the neuroscience of physical exercise, written in such a way that balances the difficult task of staying true to the science whilst engaging the non-scientists among us. And, that in short, is the magic that Ratey and Hagerman have woven together. Through medical and academic literature, they call for a revolution that is not only extremely effective but also simple, free and deliciously empowering in the treatment of a variety of health problems, including ADHD, aging, anxiety, depression and obesity.
The advice in this book works so well that in the five months that have passed since I have read it, and more importantly put what is written into practice, I have been panic attack and anxiety free. In fact, results have been so good that I only remembered that I had to live with panic attacks and the stress of always thinking I might have one, for six years… suffice to say they are no more!
Spark is an absolute must read for anyone looking to optimise their brain activity, specifically neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. It is also a great investment for anyone who is destroying their own prospects in life through their unhelpful behaviour and thought processes. Trust me, if you read and act on Dr Ratey’s and Mr Hagerman’s advice you will be a better, stronger, faster and happier version of yourself.
“If your brain isn’t actively growing, then it’s dying. Exercise is one of the few ways to counter the process of aging…”
“If you’re feeling down and start to exercise and feel better, the sense that you’re going to be OK and that you can count on yourself shifts your entire attitude.”
“With exercise you gain a sense of mastery and self-confidence.”
It was a beautiful moment to realise that I didn’t have to be confined any longer to the chains of anxiety and panic attacks. It was also incredibly liberating to learn that my behaviour didn’t have to be controlled by the scary potential of having another attack and my emotional relationships didn’t have to crumble in the face of them. Plagued since 2009 with anxiety, after losing my job, my house and the then love of my life in the space of a week, was not just terrifying, it was also debilitating, as anyone who has experienced panic attacks will testify.
Intense daily exercise has changed all of that. All that negative and destructive energy I harboured has been transformed into a positive force that I exploit in the challenges that I now set myself daily.
After putting down this book and promising myself I was going to do just what it said, I can honestly say that I have gone from strength to strength. My current adventures are flexibility, freestanding forearm stands, tripod headstands, TRX assisted planches and Shaun T’s Insanity: The Asylum. Where do I find the time you ask? I don’t fret, argue and waste or energy in trying to control the world around me… amazing really! And to think that I spent all that time agonising over just about everything. It sucked the joy right out of me.
What did this book do for you Field Agents? Drop me a Field Note and let me know!