Friday, 26 February 2016

Review: Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki

Healthy Brain, Happy LifeHealthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Dr. Wendy Suzuki one day woke up and realized she didn’t have a life. As an almost-40-year-old award-winning college professor, world-renowned neuroscientist, she had—what many considered—everything: tenure as a professor at New York University; her own very successful neuroscience research lab; prizes for scientific discoveries on cognition and memory; articles published in prestigious scientific journals. As a woman and a scientist, she was the envy of her peers and lauded by her superiors. On paper, she had a stellar career and an impeccable record.

What could she possibly be missing? Everything else. Suzuki was overweight. She was tired. She was lonely, had strained work relationships, and for the first time in her life, completely without direction. So she resolved to change her life. The first step--get moving. Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel better—that when you hit the gym despite the dread, you leave in a better mood.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life offers the real science of how exercise effects your mind. Using Wendy’s journey from frumpy, fat and frustrated to fit and fabulous as a guide, Healthy Brain offers not just the HOWS of making exercise an important part of life, but the WHYS of the benefits it brings. But movement is just the first step to being Brain Healthy. Once you get your body and mind hooked on exercise, you bring in practices in mindfullness to calm stress and allow your minds to wander to unlock creativity. As your brain begins to change (something called neuroplasticity), the benefits build--you get fitter, improve your memory, increase your ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily.

Along with Dr. Suzuki’s 4 minute Brain Hacks, Healthy Brain, Happy Life offers a simple program for changing your life, straight from a leading scientist’s personal experience.

My thoughts:
This is a non-fiction read for all those who are interested and was a motivating insight into Suzuki's experience with exercise and brain plasticity.

I think we all know intrinsically that exercise is good for us. What I enjoyed about this book was that it made a connection between exercise and the brain, and highlighted the fact that exercise is good for the brain. We often falsely believe that once we reach a certain age, our brain stops growing and does not have the ability to learn at the same pace as our younger selves. In this book, we learn this is not true and that exercise can help us learn and grow our brains in ways we may not have thought possible.

The aspects of this book that didn't make me enjoy it as much was that some of the anecdotes felt cheesy. For example, Suzuki liked to write a fair amount about how exercise helped her on the romance side of life. I don't think she quite hit the mark with the message in that respect.

All in all, I thought this was an interesting book. I have currently started on another book about the brain and will hopefully share that with you in a few weeks.

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