EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN – SPARK BY JOHN RATEY ANIMATED BOOK SUMMARY

EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN – SPARK BY JOHN RATEY ANIMATED BOOK SUMMARY


Imagine you are offered to give up 30 minutes
of your morning time in exchange for free a magic pill. The pill improves your learning capability
reduce your anxiety and stress improves your mood and motivation and generally it makes
you a better version of yourself for the rest of the day. So would you take that offer? Well what I just described is the reason why
you should exercise. When you think of exercising the first things
that comes to your mind are the benefits or maybe losing weight or having a healthier
heart. But the real benefits of exercise happen in
the brain. So what is the brain for anyway? You may think it’s about solving math problems
or creating a new smartphone app that will make you are millionaire. But neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert says that
our brain is for one thing only: To produce adaptable and complex movement. Thats it! The Koala is a great example. In the past it had a much bigger brain but
once it adapted it’s digestive system to derive all the energy it needs from Eucalyptus
leaves, it didn’t had to move as much, less movement meant less brain activity and its
brain shrunk. Studies has shown that there is a very powerful
connection between the brain and movement. A big brain is needed to facilitate complex
movements, and executing such movements and getting your heart rate up enhances your brain
power. Exercise has been shown to help people better
deal with stress and anxiety, improved mood, focus and motivation. A 2007 study has shown that exercise also
primes the brain to learn faster. Subjects who did high intensity training beforehand
were able to learn vocabulary 20% faster than those who remained sedentary. This phenomenon is due to a protein called
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF for short. BDNF helps to support the survival of existing
neurons, and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. In the brain, it is active in the hippocampus,
cortex, and basal forebrain—areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. A 2013 study showed that only 20 to 40 minutes
of aerobic exercise increased the BDNF in the blood by around 32%. So the reason why exercise is a key trigger
for all kinds of positive effects in the brain, particularly learning, is because movement
signals to the brain that something important is happening. Maybe not in modern times, but in the past
the reason to move was for the sake of survival. You move to escape a predator, to find better
shelter, hunt for food et cetera. And while moving its in your best interest
to remember the lay of the land so you don’t get lost and you can locate forageable food
again. When attacked by a predator you better remember
which path was most efficient to escape, so you can prevent yourself from
becoming a tigers meal the next time. When you are sitting on your couch watching
television you signal your brain that nothing important is happening and it’s time for rest. Exercise also affects the areas of the brain
responsible for motivation and action. The reward center is one of the most important
areas in the brain. Dopamine is a key player in the reward system. From evolutionary perspective dopamine is
released when we expect some kind of reward, it makes us want to do stuff, and it reassures
us that the thing we did was worth doing. So if your reward center is not working properly,
you might have hard time to get things done. If your brain doesn’t expect reward and
fulfilment from something it won’t justify doing it. There are pills that can help with this, but
you don’t have to buy any kind of drugs to get your reward system going. Studies show that exercise boost motivation
by increasing dopamine storage and increasing the creation of dopamine receptors in the
reward center. It might not make you stay up all night in
a studying frenzy like adderall, but it will give you more willpower and focus to do those
little things that don’t usually feel rewarding. But even though your reward center might be
working just fine, you are feeling great, and you are satisfied with your ability to
learn, you can still improve all of these areas. When you exercise you might not feel a drastic
change all of a sudden, but later on you will look back and notice the difference in learning
speed, mood, focus and you will get more things done. Now that you know all the benefits of exercise,
it’s up to you whether or not you will take the magic pill and improve your life or you
will stay the same and get the same results you’ve always had. Anyway if you want to learn how muscles work
and actually grow when exercising you should go over to my friend at Food for Thought and
watch his video on this topic! And If you don’t want to miss my upcoming
videos make sure to subscribe. Anyway thanks for watching and I’ll see you
next time.