Book Club

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


John L. Ratey, M.D.

Front Cover

Chapter Two:

Learning: Grow Your Brain Cells

Participate in the book club discussion of this chapter by doing the following:

1. Before reading the chapter, take a moment to write in your High Performance Journal.

 – Based on the title of this chapter, what do you imagine you might learn?

 – What thoughts or ideas come to mind?

 – What kind of effect do you anticipate it will have on you to read this chapter?

2. Read the chapter.

3. Write in your journal, reflecting on what you read.

 – What 3-5 things stood out to you?

 – What did you learn that was meaningful or important to you?

 – Do you want to do anything different in your own life as a result?

4. Participate in the discussion below, sharing your thoughts or ideas about the chapter.

– Share anything you want from what you wrote in your journal.

 – What related to or supported anything else within the dimension this book belongs to.

– What related to or supported anything in the dimension of achievement and the pursuit of your goals?

– Contribute to the discussion in a helpful, positive way.

5 replies
  1. Cammie Nebeker
    Cammie Nebeker says:

    This was a challenging chapter to follow but I loved learning new vocabulary words such as neurogenesis-hippocampus-BDNF! Something must be wrong with me, but I did enjoy trying to decipher what all of this research means.

    This resonated with me because one of my core beliefs is that everything in our bodies is connected. Learning that exercise and learning are connected rang true without even understanding all the reasons why. On the other hand, having been told that we only had so many brain cells never did ring true for me. So, it was gratifying to know that science has proved this myth to be just that a myth.

    My takeaway of this chapter is complete wonder and awe at the complexity of the brain, our mental capacity, and gratitude for the Creator of us.

  2. Scott Baird
    Scott Baird says:

    In addition to Alan’s comments, I am motivated by the relatively new understanding the the brain has greater plasticity than previously thought. We are not locked into an identity formed by previous choices and actions. Our brain continues to learn and shape our identity.

  3. Alan Brunswick
    Alan Brunswick says:

    I have to confess that I skimmed much of this chapter because all that technical science detail is a bit much for me. But here are the parts I liked:

    A. The summary of the 3 (so far) distinct benefits of exercise on the brain…let’s see if I can remember them…
    1. fuels the neural network and synapses so that more connections can happen
    2. increases memory (?) — which is what I clearly need right now 🙂
    3. Increase rate of learning
    Alright, now I need to go back to the book and see how close I was with those.

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