Exercise combats addiction – Study

As far as I am concerned when it comes to the benefits to our body and brain from exercise, the hits just keep on coming. The University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions reports the following good news.

Summary: Researchers report, in animal models of addiction, daily aerobic exercise alters the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain.

addiction-exercise-dopamine-neurosciencneews-public.jpg

Daily aerobic exercise altered the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

New research by the University has identified a key mechanism in how aerobic exercise can help impact the brain in ways that may support treatment — and even prevention strategies — for addiction.

Also known as “cardio,” aerobic exercise is brisk exercise that increases heart rate, breathing and circulation of oxygen through the blood, and is associated with decreasing many negative health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. It also is linked to numerous mental health benefits, such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

“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,” says Panayotis (Peter) Thanos, PhD, RIA senior research scientist and senior author of the study. “Our work seeks to help identify the underlying neurobiological mechanisms driving these changes.”

Using animal models, Thanos and his team of researchers found that daily aerobic exercise altered the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter associated with substance use disorders, playing an important role in reward, motivation and learning.

“Current work is looking at whether exercise can normalize dopamine signaling 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,” he says.

“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,” Thanos adds.

2 Comments

Filed under anxiety, cardio exercise, dealing with stress, depression, Exercise, exercise benefits

2 responses to “Exercise combats addiction – Study

  1. I can save them some effort… Exercise can, without doubt, aid in the recovery of an addict. I live with that solution daily and it is beautiful.

    It does not, however, normalize the brain’s pathways… I’m just as much a two-fisted drinker today as I was 50,000 miles ago. If I had a drink tomorrow, assuming “normalize” means I go back to being normal, I would be divorced, homeless, and in a ditch within a few months. My only hope for a normal life is complete abstinence.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Training For Life and commented:
    Yet another reason to exercise regularly! Exercise can alter Dopamine signalling and help with addictive behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

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