Regular Exercise Found To Be Beneficial In Boosting Recovery And Reducing Need For Substance Use
Multiple recent studies have shown that engaging in regular exercise can be critically beneficial to recovery, as well as lessen the use of substances.
For example, one study examined how rats in recovery may be affected by exercise. The rodents were given methamphetamine for five days in increasingly large doses. As a result, the rats exhibited attenuated meth-induced neurotoxicity. In other words, significant brain damage.
After the damage had been incurred, one sample of rats was deposited in sedentary housing, while another group was given exercise wheels at their disposal. For the group of rats who were forced to remain sedentary, the effects of the meth were sustained.
Conversely, rats who engaged in regular exercise appeared to be relatively protected against negative effects, as exercise leads to improvements in the blood-brain barrier and neural differentiation.
In 2012, researchers again looked at evidence obtained during preclinical studies and found that people who engaged in regular aerobic exercise were less likely to use illicit substances.
The study offered several potential reasons as to why people who get exercise routinely can be protected from the effects of substance use.
One explanation may be that there is a reduction in substance use when a person participates in consistent exercise it becomes a time-consuming habit that may serve as a possible alternative to substance use.
Another possibility posits that the more a person uses substances, the less time they have at their disposal to engage in other activities such as exercise. The abuse will also likely decrease the person’s income and time, and therefore, they have less opportunity to participate in recreational activities.
One final theory contends that another factor may affect the likelihood that a person will consistently engage in substance use, and also affect an individual’s desire to use substances. This external factor could be an individual personality trait or have been an influence gathered from the person’s home/family environment.
The report highlights that these theories are not mutually exclusive and that additional treatment is necessary to determine whether an exercise-based intervention may be more effects than other techniques.
Another study that analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey examined the link between teen athletics and addiction and found that adolescents that engage in exercise regularly were less likely to use substances than their more sedentary peers.
Use As A Possible Treatment Strategy
These reports demonstrate that adding regular exercise to an addiction treatment program might boost the effectiveness of a recovery approach and that it may produce a myriad of positive outcomes, including promotion of blood vessel formation brain and the release of hormones that result in healthier responses.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology