Exercise to treat addiction at Tree House Recovery

Movement is Your Medicine

By Ryan Bain Tree House Staff

Most of us have spent our entire lives being sold on ideas and products that we hope are the remedy for whichever ailment we happen to be struggling with at that time.  However, many of us fail to recognize the truth in the idea that “all we need is already within us.”  Of course, we need things like food, sleep and water, as well as interactions with others to keep ourselves alive and our species progressing…but repeatedly we get sold on the idea that we need something more, and then something else, and then even more on top of that.  Let’s take a moment to highlight some examples so you know exactly what I mean.

Feeling lonely, anxious or depressed?  Here, try some Zoloft.  Oh, by the way, in case you start feeling suicidal or have a seizure after taking it, be sure to call your doctor.

Or how about this one.

Having trouble falling or staying asleep? Try Belsomra today.  There is no other sleeping pill quite like it.  On a separate note, “walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported.”  Also, “Abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, confusion, agitation or hallucinations.”

These examples are real life. I’m sure you’ve seen these commercials or know of other ones just like it.  Is this what we’ve come to as a society? Do we really need these things? Are these truly our only options? Is there anything else out there that’s truly effective and doesn’t cause such terrible side effects? Or must we continue buying these things to “fix” us?

The sad truth is that we’ve had the answer all along but have instead been fooled by mainstream media and marketing geniuses.  The answer is in fact, “movement”.  The human body is built to move. Is it not? Isn’t that why we have facial muscles?  When our brain sends signals through our body and tells us to speak, those specific facial movements allow us to communicate with others via spoken language in order to get what we need.  What about our joints?  Why do why have them?  Quite simply because we are built to move in order to interact with the world around us and progress through life. The brain, heart, muscles and the rest of our physical body has been put together to do the one thing we have gotten away from – move.  Obviously, right?  Yes, of course.  Minus the fact that we have collectively forgotten this obvious answer.

We live in a society that has a myriad of fantastic ideas turned into products that supposedly will make our lives “easier” or “better”.  For example, we don’t have to do very much at all to satisfy our hunger…any time of day we can take a short walk from the couch, hop in the car and head over to the drive-thru.  Our ancestors had to hunt and kill or gather everything they put into their bodies.  Nowadays, we have the dollar menu.  Everything in our society is created and sold as a way to make things more convenient or “better”. But, isn’t it true that much of what we consume takes away from our own ability to self-regulate and maximize our human experience? When we stop moving, more times than not, we become depressed…and what typically happens when someone becomes depressed?  I think we would all agree that most people wind up in the doctor’s office after watching that Zoloft commercial and find themselves being prescribed some sort of anti-depressant.  This is typical in our society.  Our mental-health infrastructure has taken hold of our very existence on this earth. We are now overwhelmingly fat, depressed and addicted.  These products are meant to make our lives easier. However, the reality is the exact opposite.  Life is actually harder when we feel as if we need external substances or remedies in order to achieve happiness.  Instead of using products that truly make things easier, we have allowed ourselves to enter a never-ending cycle of supply and demand.  We are falsely informed and have been greatly misguided in honor of the almighty dollar while simultaneously dealing with the adverse effects many of these products actually offer.  We’ve bought into the convenience factor and have all contributed to a culture of “stationary activity” meanwhile having turned ourselves into a bunch of pill-popping machines.   The truth is that there is no “easy way”.  The “easy way” is just an illusion we wish was true. And although many of us are aware of this, we continue to sit in front of the television and scroll through social media for hours on end doing very little with ourselves, wishing some things would just simply change in our favor.  In doing so, we ignore the answer because it’s not convenient or easy. Life is about action and you have stopped moving. The only tool you have to experience life with has become sedentary despite it being built to move to survive.

“No man has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”

Absolutely every one of us is capable of making the changes necessary to experience our lives in a much more positive and productive way.  Have you ever heard that there are recent studies that prove that moderate levels of cardio exercise a few times per week is just as, if not more, effective and more sustainable than Zoloft?  It’s likely that you didn’t.  Why is that? This is a FACT.  Again, I repeat, cardio is more effective and more sustainable than Zoloft in treating depression.  The reason you likely haven’t heard of this is that there is no money to be gained by someone telling you to get in some cardio a few times each week if you want to pull yourself out of depression. That’s why it doesn’t hit mainstream news.  Pharmaceutical companies however, have the type of money where everyone in the world knows what Zoloft is without ever even having to take it.  As a whole, we have gotten away from the simple truth that keeping our bodies moving is the single most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves.  The wherewithal of huge corporations has brainwashed us into thinking we undoubtedly need some sort of outside remedy to enhance our life or fix our ailments. However, the reality is that the real answer has always been within us.

So, what now?  The answer is simple.  Get your ass up off the couch and start moving.  I’m not saying you need to turn into Arnold overnight, or ever for that matter.  And no, you don’t need to hit 40 home runs next season or set a world record in the 100-meter dash.  Simply get moving and start to build some momentum.  It may be as simple as taking the dog for a walk or being more active with your children.  You will be surprised how much consistent levels of physical exertion will enhance your life.  The positive effects it will have on your brain and the way you will feel are unparalleled…and hey, maybe you’ll drop a size or two while you’re at it.  But here’s the thing, don’t try to conquer the world in a day and don’t give up before you really get going.  The path of least resistance never amounts to much and yes, the path of most resistance will yield the most results – but for you, just start and build from there little by little.  Add even just one more step or one more Rep each day. With consistent effort, soon enough your energy levels will increase and the more you exert, the more dopamine will flood your reward system and then internal motivation ensues.  It’s very simple, but too often overlooked and underapplied – Move…it truly is your best medicine.

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