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Amazing. This article is giving clue to new patterns. Thanks for the nice info.

Read the book...Loved it...I tell all of my college students to read it...and then tell them what they need to know...what they need to teach their clients. and I tell all of my patients and clients about it.
Question: Have you seen this article http://www.fmnetnews.com/basics-news.php#hippocampal and how do you think this fits?

Hi John 'Champion of Exercise',

I am interested to read of the benefits of exercise for both males and females. Is exercise was more or less (or same) beneficial for females than for males?

I just wondered if different types or intensities of exercise might suit males and not females due to previous evolutionary roles.

(men hunted; ran and walked for miles)
(women gathered; water, berries and nurtured children)

any comments and papers I should read appreciated


Have a great day!

Phil McNally
Positive Psychology Coach

Blog: http://www.veryhappyphil.com
Book: 'Winning Mentality - 7 Mind Techniques used by Winners'

John -
To make the connection easier for the review:


Thanks again,

Your book has so much to offer everyone on so many levels. I do think we should all build exercise into our everyday recommendations for recovery from any brain challenge.

Most appreciated from my perspective is the depth of commentary and research in Spark- and your writing is so engaging.

I just posted a short review over at my site, and hope that others find the BDNF as interesting as we do!

Dr Ratey,

could you please discuss this article I just found :


"A large, longitudinal population-based study in identical twins found the twin who exercised more did not display fewer anxious or depressive symptoms than the twin who exercised less."

How should these results be understood ?

Thank you for your help,

Best regards

ps: I bought your book and I am currently reading it.

Dr. Ratey - thanks so much for putting this information together in such a readable format!
I have a request: please do what you can to get this out in audio format with an upbeat, energetic reader. Your book is one I would listen to repeatedly while doing my 5 to 7 hours of treadmill at the gym with a heart rate monitor. It's too easy to 'fall off the wagon' of exercise, and the right audio book helps keep me motivated. I can't tell you how many times I've been through 'Younger Next Year'!
Thanks again,
- Kathleen C.

Thank you for your comments.

That is interesting about mood and anxiety. I guess it is likely the output of "stress energy." I have even read that strength training can cause more depression in depressed individuals, though I guess this is further reason to look at individual prescription and recovery ability.

I think a lot of people experience a great deal of systemic inflammation, often because they do not allow adequate recovery before stressing themselves again. Or they have too much nutritional stress and not enough resources or time for the rebuilding phase. I completely agree with everything you say for kids who are in (or should be in) a naturally anabolic state. For adults, that begins to get a bit more complicated and requires far more than general admonitions and guidelines.

Comment from Dr Ratey:

It certainly is an issue that people need to start gradually and then increase as it is reasonable or face the threat of injury. I emphasized the aerobic conditioning much more than strength training though i include mention of the need of strength training in many chapters and report that most of the results for brain fitness show that aerobic conditioning is a little bit better than strength training as far as mood, anxiety, aging goes but i emphasize the effects on brain function that we get when we stress our muscles to the point of overwhelming them which if we allow them to recover leads to growth. This is also a process which sends off many factors that are important for our brains to learn, grow, and develop resiliency to face the stress and aging challenges of the future.

In fact most recently there is evidence accumulating that suggests that challenging and building our muscles as we age, is one of the major ways to keep our stem cells dividing to try and replenish the eroding hippocampus, the major memory control center in the brain. The same factors (FGF-2, VEGF to name a few) that are released when the muscles are damaged by adequate strength training and lead to the development of more and fitter muscles fibers and new blood vessels to service them, that these travel up to the brain and keep our stem cells dividing. They are called “mitogens” which means they start the cells they target to reproduce and in the muscles case repair the damaged, overtaxed muscle fibers and in the brain keep those stem cells dividing. Within the last year, there have been two papers with conflicting views of aging, one that suggests that the slow down in “neurogenesis” is due to the lack of these mitogens and that it is not the case that our supply of stem cells dwindle, however other papers suggest that in fact our number of stem cells in the brain drop so science goes forth. But in any case, strength training and muscle damage and repair are helpful to the brain in so many ways and certainly help maintain our carriage to go through life with less trouble.

Dr. Ratey, I think your book is great, but I have a few questions anc concerns. As a physical therapist I see the downside of activity a lot as well. Pain and injury are frequent side effects of the great medicine that is exercise when it is not prescribed properly. Although I think physical activity is essential, structured exercise, especially in the form of resistance training, increases in importance as someone age. Exercising in order that you may be active is an important distinction. Although you touch on it, your book seems to underplay the role of strength training and also does not define recovery particularly well. Could you provide a bit more information / research regarding your position on these two topics?


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