Whether you’re a compulsive gambler, chain smoker, hooked on drugs or alcohol, recent studies have concluded exercise could be the key to beating your addiction.
Not only is exercise vital for keeping your mind and body agile, but it’s been discovered that working out a few times a week can radically alter the serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. Serotonin causes you to feel excited about life, happier and therefore more driven to get off the couch. Feeling motivated will encourage you to keep busy and deflect your thoughts away from indulging in your addiction. When you feel like reaching for a cigarette, go for a run instead. If you’re trying to cut back on drinking instead of meeting mates at the pub, organise a game of tennis.
The studies also revealed regular exercise repairs organic equilibrium in the brain – often thrown into disarray by the heavy use of drugs and alcohol.
Many worldwide rehabilitation programmes that extend a helping hand to recovering addicts are introducing an exercise routines as part of the treatment programme.
You may not need professional rehabilitation treatment, but if you are trying to beat bad habits, exercise is a great place to start.
You can’t be expected to run a marathon the first time you lace up your trainers, so ease yourself into a new healthier lifestyle by trying these exercises first.
Before you dismiss Yoga as a form of exercise for grannies and new age hipsters, try it for yourself. It’s low impact and incorporates focusing centring your thoughts. Often used as a way of relaxation and meditation, Yoga act as a mood-booster. It’s also much harder than it looks. If yoga’s not your thing, try a group fitness class.
Australia has some picturesque national parks. Escape your concrete jungle and get back to nature. Walking is lower impact than jogging and you don’t need to splash out on any fancy gear to do it. Don’t venture too far into the middle of nowhere without taking adequate water, food and always let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back.
Get on your bike! Cycling is lower impact on your joints than running, and it’s a great way to explore your local city. It’s also a fantastic technique to reduce stress – the fresh air and the wind in your hair.