How Exercise can Help you Beat Addiction
Beating addiction might be easier than you first thought. It has been found that exercise can actually help beat addiction by altering the brain’s dopamine system.
This new revelation has been discovered following new researched that was carried out by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions. They have identified a key mechanism in how aerobic exercise can actually help to impact the brain in additional ways that might then support treatment, including prevention strategies in some cases, for addiction.
Cardio or aerobic exercise aims to increase heart rate, breathing and the circulation of oxygen through the blood. There are a huge number of benefits to aerobic exercise. Including the obvious, such as improving fitness and aiding weight loss, it can reduce your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. On top of this, it can also help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
The senior research scientist and senior author of the study, Panayotis Thanos said;
“Several studies have shown that, in addition to these benefits, aerobic exercise has been effective in preventing the start, increase and relapse of substance use in a number of categories, including alcohol, nicotine, stimulants and opioids…Our work seeks to help identify the underlying neurobiological mechanisms driving these changes.”
The research team studies animal models and found that daily aerobic exercise actually altered the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain. This is a key neurotransmitter that is associated with substance use disorders, and play a very important role in reward, motivation and learning.
Thanos goes on to say;
“Current work is looking at whether exercise can normalise dopamine signalling that has been changed by chronic drug use, as this may provide key support of how exercise could serve as a treatment strategy for substance abuse…Further studies that focus on people with substance use disorders should help researchers develop new methods to integrate exercise into treatment regimens that may help prevent relapses.”
It is yet to be seen whether this will really take off as a way of helping those with addictions; however, this research is vital in moving forward with dealing with addiction.