Fitness

Exercise Treats Addiction By Altering Brain’s Dopamine System

Exercise Treats Addiction By Altering Brain’s Dopamine System

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

Scientists in Britain previously found that just five minutes of brisk walking can alleviate withdrawal symptoms caused from giving up smoking. They believe that exercise stimulates how much dopamine (a mood enhancing hormone) is produced which reduces the desire for nicotine.

We know that exercise can be addictive and that other substances and behaviors that are addictive have increased dopamine release in brain targeted regions as a common property. Aside from being the ultimate motivator, having a constant supply of dopamine in your system has a few other fringe benefits such as improving memory, counteracting depression, resisting impulsive behavior, losing weight and even helping avoid Parkinson’s Disease.

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.

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