Millie’s Sober Spring hacks - Week eleven

Millie Gooch | May 2024 | 6 minutes

Millie Gooch brings another of her mid-week instalments to help you explore the sober lifestyle to the max. This week, Millie shares some guidance on how physical activity can be a powerful tool in your alcohol-free journey.

Movement is a powerful tool for improving mental health and breaking unhealthy habits. Exercise can serve as a natural remedy, offering a host of mental health benefits and through the release of various chemicals in the brain, physical activity enhances mood, reduces stress, and builds resilience against cravings.

Aerobic Exercise for Endorphin Release

Aerobic exercise like running, cycling, or swimming can significantly boost your mood by increasing the release of endorphins, often referred to as "feel-good" hormones. These chemicals help to alleviate stress and anxiety, common triggers for alcohol consumption. By incorporating 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, you can experience a natural high, reducing the urge to turn to alcohol for mood enhancement.

Strength Training for Dopamine Regulation

Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting or bodyweight workouts, can help regulate dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, often disrupted by alcohol use. Regular strength training can restore dopamine balance, enhancing feelings of satisfaction and motivation. Aim for at least two to three sessions per week, focusing on different muscle groups, to not only build physical strength but also to bolster your mental resilience against alcohol cravings.

Mind-Body Exercises for Stress Reduction

Mind-body exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, emphasise mindfulness and controlled breathing, which can significantly reduce stress and promote relaxation. These activities stimulate the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps to calm the nervous system. By practicing these exercises regularly, you can lower anxiety levels and improve your ability to cope with stress without resorting to alcohol.

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