Book Club

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


John L. Ratey, M.D.

Front Cover

Chapter Five:

Depression: Move Your Mood

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.

1 reply
  1. Scott Baird
    Scott Baird says:

    I found it interesting that it is largely through depression research that we know as much as we do about the brain.

    Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada, according to WHO.

    By reading this chapter, I had a new appreciation for the difficulty of diagnosing and treating chemical imbalances that result in depression. It is not as simple as getting serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in balance–it is BDNF, VEGF, IGF-1 and FGF-2 and 40 different types of endorphins. All of these are essential for near-plasticity, neurogenesis, and healthy brain and mood function.

    The great hope? Exercise doesn’t just treat 1 chemical at a time in isolation. It treats them ALL simultaneously and seeks balances ad growth. As effective as Zoloft for treating depression. But like Zoloft, it takes time–up to 3 weeks, for it to kick in and like Zoloft, if you stop taking the medicine, the symptoms return.

    I loved the Blumenthal study–every 50 minutes of weekly exercise correlated to a 50% dos in the odds of being depressed.

    As always, the Ratey patient case study was great, says the patient, “I just got too busy and forgot the benefits of working out. Now I feel like I have my brain back.”

    I’m not really sure what it means to turn on genes” but not only does BDNF, “turn on genes” that produce more neurotransmitters and neurotrophins, but this is something I read over and over again in the nutrition research–that proper nutritional balance has the effect of “turning on the genes” that elevate metabolism and fight disease. I always assumed if you had the gene it was turned on. I want to learn more about this.

    The best kind of behavior therapy? just go outside, go for a walk, Do something.

    The Prescription? Body weight x 8 = number of calories to be burned from exercise in order to reach the benefits of exercise. Way to go Trivedi and Dunn! Rated reminds us that is the minimum standard–more is better–to a point. The key is to get moving–NOW! Burn those 1400 calories (for me its 1600 minimum) like your life depended on it–because it does! Not an instant cure but it does its job with persistence.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply