A regular exercise program offers a myriad of healthy benefits, from a more efficient cardiovascular system to successful weight loss. Now, two recent studies have also confirmed that physical activity may be linked to a lower risk of alcohol abuse. While the studies do not show cause and effect at this time, their results do suggest that exercise is beneficial for preventing alcohol abuse, while a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk for an alcohol use disorder.
Johns Hopkins Study
A study released last November by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a compelling link between inactivity and alcohol use disorders. The study, which included more than 5,000 African-American participants, found that people with a sedentary lifestyle were 84 to 88 percent more likely to have characteristics of an alcohol use disorder than participants that worked out regularly.
Researchers conducting the study were quick to point out that these findings could not definitively say physical activity will prevent an alcohol use disorder. More research will be needed to determine cause and effect, particularly in light of the fact that alcohol abuse also has a high rate of co-occurrence with mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Exercise has been found to have a positive effect on these mental health disorders as well.
Another study out of Denmark earlier this year found that people who were more physically active throughout life were less likely to be treated for an alcohol use disorder. Researchers from the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen studied surveys of more than 18,000 adults between 1976 and 2003. They found that both men and women who reported at least some physical activity were 30 to 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder than those that reported a sedentary lifestyle.
“Although we and for that matters others have not proven a causal relationship between physical activity and risk of developing alcohol use disorders, it is likely there is a causal link,” Dr. Ulrik Becker, one of the co-authors of the study told Reuters.
Exercise and Substance Abuse
While cause and effect involving exercise and alcohol abuse remains to be proven, there is little doubt that physical activity can be a positive addition to an alcohol abuse treatment program. Exercise offers both physical and mental benefits during both treatment and recovery, including:
- Relieves and reduces stress
- Assists in weight loss
- Boosts energy levels
- Promotes health nighttime sleep
- Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Occupies time in a healthy way
- Enhances mental clarity
Exercise is one of the healthiest steps you can take for yourself and your body, which is why physical activity is one of the components in the treatment programs offered at West Coast Recovery Centers. Whether you choose to practice yoga, engage in weight lifting or find a cardio activity you love, the time you spend on these activities will help you stay on the positive track to better health and recovery.
West Coast Recovery Center is a treatment facility located on beachfront property in Oceanside, California. We offer both residential and outpatient programs that combine proven therapies and a customized approach that meets every patient right where they are at. To learn more, contact West Coast Recovery Centers at 855-927-2687.