Spark By John Ratey – How Exercise Lights Up The Brain

An Addition To The Recommended Reading List

Believe it or not, there are some cases where cardio trumps the thrill of lifting rusty iron, or plastic bumper plates. While on the grand scheme of things, I’d have to say resistance training still wins out, you should still be making space for some treadmill trotting in your regime.

This book’s an absolute gem and well worth reading, and what’s more it’s available as an audiobook. You will now be able to do your long runs while listening to a guy hyping you up with all the virtues of aerobic exercise. 

In amongst the bands and fasts that I constantly cover over on website blog posts, there’s always been one major focus to my training, and that’s brain health. All the hard work across the gym and kitchen won’t feel like much if you’re not reducing mental stress and building up a positive mindset across the same tracks.

Spark pays particular attention to BDNF, a hormone that’s been nicknamed ‘miracle growth’ in the brain. It’s secreted in response to strenuous exercise, and strengthens the brain’s nerve connections (synapses) and even helps them multiply in number. With this increase in synapses, you’re essentially improving your ability to learn.

Going past BDNF, exercise is important for building the ability to self-regulate, which we can label as willpower. Naturally, that’s going to be key in getting you over the finish line of whatever dietary goal you’ve set yourself.

There’s plenty more to unpick in this book, so treat yourself to some validation for your next morning run.

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