Exercise can help cure addictions

If you can’t eat just one cookie or one potato chip—and that one cookie or one chip can lead to a day or two of eating too, too much, you may battle a food addiction. I do.

Dr. John Ratey has a chapter in his book Spark—The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain about addictions. The chapter explains in great detail how exercise can help.

“A lot of people assume that an addict’s real problem is just a lack of motivation,” he says. “On one level, this is true, but what very few people recognize is that motivation is a function of brain signals, and that those signals depend on reliable messengers and intact nerve pathways….

“Exercise isn’t necessarily a cure, but it’s the only treatment I know of that works from the top down as well as from the bottom up, rewiring the brain to circumvent the addictive pattern and curbing the craving. Try it. Maybe you’ll get hooked.”

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