Racing for Recovery® - What Exercise Can Do for the Brain and Recovery
Posted Jun 25 2009 1:58pm
by Lisa Frederiksen
Exercise is one of the best ways alcoholics and those who love them (aka codependents) can fight the “switch” that can take their brain down old pathways and a possible relapse — whether that’s a drink (the alcoholic) or an unhealthy coping behavior (the codependent).
Instead of giving in, try getting out to do something physical - walk, run, swim, bike, stretch, play tennis, garden, wash the car (or stay inside - turn up the music and dance, jump rope, deep clean the kitchen or follow an exercise program on TV or DVD) - anything that’s physical.
According to Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the University of San Francisco, who was interviewed by Jean Lawrence for her WebMD feature article, “ Train Your Brain With Exercise,” (quoting from the article)exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric. In other words, if you don’t want to wait for those good feelings to come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising. “When one exercises,” Anderson says, “you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science — stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”
I found this site, Racing for Recovery® and thought it may be a possible option for some. Todd Crandell PC (Professional Counselor) and LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III) is the founder and Executive Director of Racing for Recovery®, a 501 c 3 non-profit foundation with the mission of preventing substance abuse in adolescents and individuals and offering a positive alternative to those currently battling addiction. Todd’s own 13-year struggle with drugs and alcohol nearly destroyed his life, devastating relationships with family and friends and shattering the promise of a professional hockey career. Racing for Recovery® offers swimming, biking and running guidance along with a drug prevention and healthy living message.
So if you are grappling with alcoholism or alcohol abuse or you love someone who is, give exercise a try. The brain is amazingly plastic and can change, which means we can think and feel differently…of course it takes practice, but exercise can help.