It is no big secret that years of heavy drinking can have adverse side effects on one’s brain.
Alcoholics who seek recovery may find that exercise may help their brain, a new study suggests. New research conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found exercise may help prevent damage to white matter in heavy drinkers. You can read the study's abstract here: Aerobic Exercise Moderates the Effect of Heavy Alcohol Consumption on White Matter Damage.
White matter is responsible for: learning, processing, thinking, and communication between various regions of the brain; clearly our white matter is of the utmost importance. In the past, research showed that heavy alcohol exposure may damage white matter, U.S. News reports.
The new studies results have shown that regular aerobic exercise is associated with less damage to white matter in heavy drinkers.
There were 60 participants who volunteered for the study that were moderate or heavy drinkers; they were queried about their drinking behaviors and their attempts to control their drinking, as well as their exercise routines. Researchers then scanned the participants' brains looking at white matter.
“We found that for people who drink a lot and exercise a lot, there was not a strong relationship between alcohol and white matter,” lead researcher Hollis Karoly said in a news release. “But for people who drink a lot and don’t exercise, our study showed the integrity of white matter is compromised in several areas of the brain. It basically means white matter is not moving messages between areas of the brain as efficiently as normal.”