Book Club

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


John L. Ratey, M.D.

Front Cover

Chapter Six:

Attention Deficit: Running from Distraction

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:

    One of the things that I really appreciated about this chapter was the depth of understanding Dr. Ratey has on the topic of Attention Deficit. His own research and writing on this topic are evident. As he points out it is easy to identify as attention deficit the child that is bouncing off the wall, but the withdrawn child intently focussed on her video game may not be obvious. It really makes me appreciate his insight that attention deficit is better described at attention variability–an inability to direct attention or focus on command.

    Raising 6 children–at least half of whom have ADHD tendencies i love the observation, “the one day the ADHD student does do his homework, he leaves it at home.”

    Not only does the ADHD brain procrastinate until the sward of damocles hang over their head–they can get very focused when it does.

    I had new understanding and insight that for the ADHD child or adult, exercise that includes more complex movement is even more helpful–martial arts, ballet even skateboarding. Participating in this kind of physical movement as little as twice per week improved behavior and performance.

    The observation that they are prisoners of the present with an inability to focus on a long-term goal which makes it appears that they lack drive, is just sad to me–if exercise can–and it seems that it does–help them to escape that prison, what a wonderful benefit.

    This connection between movement and attention is fascinating, especially the extension into other movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

    The prescription of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day seems to be the repeated pattern with each chapter.

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