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Exercise brings healthy high

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Science studies have demonstrated that all addictions, whether to alcohol, tobacco, drugs or anorexia, are caused by low activity of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter. After that finding came out, research groups reported that strenuous exercise raises brain dopamine best — three times a week, 20 minutes of intense weight lifting or 45 minutes of brisk running or bicycling. Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage, two to three times weekly, also raise dopamine. Chemical companies are looking for a drug that will work as well as weights and running. With abundant running clubs, coaches, personal trainers, health clubs, climbing gyms, bicycle/pedestrian trails, massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors, we don’t have to wait years to start treating addiction. Trail running, for instance, is liberally sprinkled with alcoholics, smokers and druggies who now have no desire to indulge.  But exercise doesn’t work for anorexia. I have patients who regularly suffer from breakdown injuries because their bodies are so desperate for calories that they’re breaking down the protein fibers in tendons, ligaments and bones to get enough calories to power on. But when I point that out, they say I’m wrong, that they’re borderline fat. Bottom line: addiction is no longer incurable. Gordon Ainsleigh, Meadow Vista