Dopamine and Exercise: Beat Addiction By Getting Fit

Dopamine and Exercise: Beat Addiction By Getting Fit - Launch Centers in Los Angeles, CA

How Can Activities Such as Yoga and Meditation Serve as Alternatives to Drug Use?

Exercise is typically not what comes to mind when people think about ways to beat addiction. However, exercise can actually help people reboot brain dopamine. There are several ways that exercise can help people fight off addiction.


There is a Direct Link Between Dopamine and Exercise

Drugs and alcohol disrupt dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the pleasure and reward system. Exercise helps increase the production of dopamine. It produces what people refer to as the runner’s high. The runner’s high is a feeling of deep euphoria. You can experience this feeling regardless of the type of exercise that you do.

This high is not as intense as the one would experience from drugs and alcohol. However, the effects of it are mentally and physically pleasurable. Furthermore, exercise can increase endorphin production. This is another chemical that can also help ease pain and help people feel happy and calm. Exercise is a great way to prevent relapse.


A Healthier Craving

Not only does exercise help reboot brain dopamine, but it also helps you develop a craving for something healthy. People like the way that they feel when they exercise, which is why they keep doing it. Studies have shown that exercise can actually help people overcome drug cravings.


Improve Mental Health

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol because they want to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, substance abuse worsens these problems. Studies have shown that exercise has anti-depressive effects. It can also alleviate physical and emotional stress. Additionally, exercise can help promote restful sleep. Simply put, exercise is good for mental health.


Restore Brain Damage Caused by Addiction

Not only is there a direct link between dopamine and exercise, but exercise can also reverse some of the damage that is caused by a drug addiction. Exercising can restore brain damage. It increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps heal the damage.


Ways Different Exercises can Affect the Body Differently

Many people who are overcoming addiction are asking “How can activities such as yoga and meditation serve as alternatives to drug use?” Even though all exercise can help you beat addiction, it is important to remember that certain exercises will affect you differently.


Walking and Hiking

Taking a 15-minute outdoors can boost your dopamine levels. It can also help you fight off cravings.



Many addiction treatment centers include yoga. Although yoga is less intense than other forms of exercise, it is still highly beneficial. Yoga sends your body into a state of meditation. It can also prevent relapse by reducing anxiety and stress.


Strength Training

Cardio exercise is often touted for its benefits, but strength training is just as important. Strength training can improve your body’s sleep cycle. Many people who are recovering from addiction suffer from insomnia.


Team Sports

Team sports, such as basketball and soccer, are a great way to work out and socialize at the same time. People will be able to develop long-lasting friendships. They can also build skills that help them integrate back into society.


RecoveryFit at Launch Centers

We recognize the benefits of exercise for those recovering from addiction. For this reason,  Launch Centers offers a revolutionary fitness program called RecoveryFit.

RecoveryFit is a group fitness and wellness program designed to address the unique needs of substance abuse, mental health, and dual diagnosis clients.

We specialize in treating addiction in young people (ages 18-35) by prioritizing education and skill development in addition to therapy. Contact Launch Centers today to find out how we can help you or a loved overcome addiction and develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.

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