How Exercise Can Prevent Substance Abuse and Relapse
In studies that looked at the role regular exercise played in substance use, 75% saw a decrease in active SUDs. This research also showed that regular physical activity has a positive impact on people’s mental health and can increase self-worth, self-esteem and confidence, while at the same time reducing behavioral health issues like anxiety and depression which are often addiction triggers.
Every time someone exercises neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin get released into their brain which activates receptors that produce a positive or euphoric emotional state similar to drugs and alcohol. So, in essence, exercise can be used as an alternative to these substances by the user who will still experience the same positive effects on their brain. Jeremiah Weinstock, a psychology professor at St. Louis University, who studies addiction says that he views exercise as a type of medication because of the way it impacts the brain. “Exercise is fantastic medicine for those struggling to recover from their addiction.”