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Dr Ratey,
Almost finished with *Spark*. What an excellent book! I'm writing because I'm taking some time off in between undergraduate and medical school. I will be running an exercise group at a clubhouse for people with chronic mental illness and was wondering if you could point me in the direction of others who have run similar groups so I can learn what works best. I would appreciate any help you can provide.

Dr. Ratey --

can you explain why you emphasize sprinting in your recommendations?

JOhn Simmons

I am a physical education instructor at an elementary school. I have had three extremely bright, yet very autistic students over the last 4 years that have made similar comments to me and have reacted similarily to cardiovascular endurance exercise. All three enjoy playing and exercising to a certain level, but they all hit a certain point, much earlier than their peers, where they stop and hold the front of their heads and will not continue. One of the students told me that he thinks somebody should invent some kind of helmet that he can wear to stop the pressure...make it stop when he runs.(2nd grader) I have attributed it to some of the extreme ways in which austistic students can react to certain situations, but after attending your lecture today I question if that is right. Any thoughts?

Just like everyone else John, I am fascinated by your research, keep it up! Great reading everytime.

Dr. Ratey: I am trying to research exercise addiction and wondered if you had any advice regarding books, articles, etc. regarding this. I have a 17 year old who has been running long distances for several years. She has almost no body fat and her endurance has recently decreased to the point that she is unable to finish her races. Her diet is healthy but she does not gain weight, even though her coach has asked her not to run for two weeks in order to try to put some weight on. She is an emotional wreck over not being able to run. This is affecting her studies and her social life. I am concerned about the potential for an eating disorder as well as clinical depression. If you know of any resources that I could consult, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you,
Joye Wells

I am also a personal fitness trainer located in Corona Del Mar, CA. Have incorporated your "evolutionary lens" angle in my rhetoric to my clients. I think I am a bit better at reaching them having read Spark. I might say: "...turn on those genes that produce HGH...". Feels good to say that knowing its not an embellishment.

Dear Dr. Ratey,
I was so thrilled to read your work. As a personal trainer I try to impart these ideas to my clients every day. Exercise is about so much more than losing weight. It is an essential part of living, and a regular program can improve so many aspects of one's life. As a mother of three kids, two who have ADHD, I cannot thank you enough for verifying what I have been telling them (albeit with less success than my clients!). Exercise is so necessary for them - especially - to feel better without medication. Thank you!

I await with great enthusiasum reading "Spark".
As a Special Educator, Physical Educator, Triathlete for the past 17 years - I have incorporated morning physical activity (both aerobic and anaerobic)into the curriculum of my students.
I have been in the past assigned to a secondary school position which included students with varied levels of ability. Nearly all students suffered from a form of ADD/ADHD. Most were angry, volatile, and frequently violent due to abusive circumstances in their young lives.
Students were exposed daily to weather dependant indoor/outdoor physical activity for a minimum of one hour. The majority of the aerobic activity was staff supervised for motivation and encouragment to increase participation; however, the specific activity was most often in the form of a student directed game involving both moderate as well as intense bouts of running. The final 10 minutes were regularly focused on varied strength building exercises.
The conclusion of the mornings activity was immediately followed by Mathematics sessions and activities of as long as 90 minutes! The results over time increased student focused work production, reduced explosive volatility, and violence. Affectively, students were more positive, and gregarious.
I am only sorry that I did not record empirical data, and observations.
Students were never promised physical activity would eliminate their problems - only that they would gain valuable strategies in their perceptions of, and organized problem-solving modalities with problems in virtually all difficulties they faced.
In the end - my only documentation of the process resulted in a "whole lot of math, and big smiles!"

There may be little new under the sun but Dr. Ratey seems to have the "presents" of mind to bring it to us in a compelling, accessible way. I plan to "run" out and buy SPARK.

The Public Radio show yesterday was excellent. Thank you.

Dear Dr. Ratey & Site Guests:

I called Wisconsin Public Radio this morning (3-6-08) and enjoyed learning about SPARK. I am a 65 year old in a distance learning program for a PhD in Natural Health. I am interested in any ideas anyone might have for a dissertation on the topic of the mind-body connection. My college does not allow any human or animal experiments, so any suggestions should take that into account. Thank you and best wishes.

Bill at libra9@earthlink.net

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