Dr. John Ratey, a neuropsychiatrist from Harvard University and the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, has a lot to say about the brain-boosting benefits of exercise. The need to exercise, he claims, is rooted in our genes and required for our well-being:
“Neuroscientists have just begun studying exercise’s impact within brain cells—at the genes themselves. Even there, in the roots of our biology, they’ve found signs of the body’s influence on the mind. It turns out that moving our muscles produces proteins that travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where they play pivotal roles in the mechanisms of our highest thought processes…I’m not talking about the fuzzy notion of runner’s high…These are tangible changes, measured in lab rats and identified in people.”
Regular exercise reduces inflammation; the pain associated with arthritis and other ailments; helps maintain a healthy weight and curb cravings; and reduces the risk for many chronic diseases. But the following summary, taken from Living Free: Finding Freedom From Habits That Hurt, itemizes just a few of the powerful mental health benefits of exercise.
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