It’s no secret that physical fitness is an effective way to speed up recovery. As you exercise, the brain releases endorphins in the system. This chemical uplifts the mood and gives you a natural high. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, exercising can help you recover from various ailments as well as aid in your recovery from depression, substance abuse, and other addictions.
Unfortunately, less than half of Americans exercise regularly. If you’re wondering how exercising can help you recover from various ailments, check out our list below:
Recovery from Alcoholism
Alcoholism damages the white matter of the brain. Gradually, an alcoholic loses his ability to concentrate. Addiction to alcohol can lead to memory lapses, blackouts, and brain damage.
In a study by the University of Colorado Boulder, researchers found that regular aerobic workout can help protect the brain from the ravages of alcoholism. In a separate study, alcoholic mice that were getting regular exercise experience fewer seizures.
Recovery from Hard Drugs
Exercising has positive effects on drug addicts too. In a study published in the Synapse journal, researchers found that exercising can protect certain parts of the brain that’s affected from repeated exposure to methamphetamine. In high doses, methamphetamine can destroy the brain’s dopamine transporters. Dopamine transporters control the brain’s ability to process attention, reward and motivation.
Recovery from Smoking
Smoking is a highly addictive habit thanks to nicotine. This chemical is a byproduct of tobacco and is more addictive than heroin, crack and meth. It’s also 1,000 times more potent than alcohol. Combining nicotine replacement therapy with exercise is a proven safe and effective way to help chronic smokers quit tobacco successfully than nicotine replacement therapy alone.
Recovery from Depression
Exercising is a proven effective way to recover from depression. One study reports that working out at least three times per week can reduce symptoms of depression. Depressive individuals who exercise regularly after 10 months are less likely to relapse from depression than those who don’t exercise but take anti-depressants.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that moderate aerobic exercises done three to five times per week can reduce moderate depression symptoms by almost 50%.
Recovery from Cancer Treatment
Aggressive cancer treatments can leave the body weak and vulnerable to various infections. You can reduce the effects of cancer treatments by doing bits of mild exercises. Walking for at least 20 minutes per day helps increase strength and endurance. It can reduce fatigue, improve mood and boost your self-esteem. When you exercise regularly, you feel less pain and you get better sleep as you recover from cancer.
Recovery from Heart Disease
A weak heart is not an excuse to abstain from working out. Regular exercise can help strengthen the heart because it’s a muscle. Physical activities can improve the cardiovascular system and stabilize blood pressure. Exercising is proven to reduce heart failure symptoms and stabilize cholesterol level in the blood. Even better, working out as you recover from heart disease improves the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. It can also boost blood circulation for more effective recovery.