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Exercise Can Actively Help You Move Away From Addiction

Running, swimming, jogging, and more typically enter discussions surrounding weight gain and diet, but what about recovery? A holistic approach to addiction recovery means that you will focus on creating a lifestyle that will be conducive to the growth and development of your mind, body, and spirit. Yes, by engaging in physical activity, you will promote strength, endurance, flexibility and more – but did you know that exercise could actually help you focus on your recovery goals and away from the need to use substances?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects many functions in the body; it is a “feel-good” chemical in the brain that is released during pleasurable activities or when one is seeking out a pleasurable activity. This chemical isn’t just released when substances are used however; sex, food, and – you guessed it, exercise – can do this, too. When we exercise, endorphins and dopamine are released, which stimulate the brain’s reward pathway similar to both drugs and alcohol. Lisa Robison, a postdoctoral research associate at Albany Medical College in New York, told U.S. News“This may bring a person enough pleasure so as to not seek it out by using drugs.”

A 2016 review published in the journal Biomedical Reports sought to explore effects of exercise on those with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) by systematically analyzing previous research studies that had been conducted on the subject. Several benefits were found for exercise:

  • It has the potential to benefit mood, anxiety, depression, self-perception and more
  • Exercise programs can enhance a person’s self-confidence and self-efficacy, which can be transferred into effective coping strategies
  • Many people abuse alcohol to cope with stress; exercise is a healthy way to reduce stress, which therefore can help eliminate the need to drink alcohol
  • Group exercise activities can generate more social interaction that builds a more conducive environment to rehabilitation
  • Exercise can promote positive behaviors that guide a person away from addictive behaviors

Trauma recovery is a matter of the mind, the body, and the spirit. At The Guest House Ocala, we treat the holistic self, to heal trauma physically, cellularly, viscerally, and spiritually. Call us today to learn more about our residential programs of care: 855-483-7800