What Are the Benefits of Exercise for Treatment of Youth Substance Use Disorders?

exercising youthPrevious studies have shown exercise can provide many mental and physical benefits to adolescents, but what about for those teens in addiction recovery? Addiction affects the adolescent brain in many negative ways, such as with critical thinking, learning, memory and more. Researchers believe that exercise can help mitigate these effects; Dr. Nora Nock, a professor at Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, stated in a 2018 article published by Medical Express,

“Exercise may help to reinforce these underdeveloped connections between reward and regulatory processes and offset reward-seeking from substance use in adolescents.”

Since the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed, teens are more likely to make risky choices that could lead to addiction. A 2017 review published in the journal Frontier Psychology noted that outside of substance abuse, teens often face pressure from parents and family, peers and the desire to conform, school responsibilities, stress as they experience developmental changes, boredom as they experience more “free time” by themselves and with friends and comorbid mental health concerns.

In 2018, however, U.S. News reported that exercise can impact serotonin levels, which help regulate mood. Exercise can also release cortisol, the “stress” hormone, which will naturally make your teen feel lighter on their feet. Exercise builds positive self-esteem and helps teens sleep better, which can greatly improve their overall functioning. By taking part in a form of healthy physical activity, your teen may find they’re better able to connect with others and work through their recovery – which places them at a further step towards building their happiness and health.

If your teen is ready to begin their journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. The sooner they seek help, the better their chances of preventing future addiction.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966 and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.

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Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.