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Spilled capsules. Drugs. Tablets. Pharmaceuticals. Pills. Generic image.

Getting out and about can stop drug abuse

New research by James Cook University shows exercise that is "enjoyable" helps steer young drug and alcohol abusers away from their addictions.

Conducted alongside researchers from The University of WA, CQU, Kids Rehab WA, and the Drug and Alcohol Youth Service - Mental Health Commission, Perth, it addresses drug and alcohol addictions as one of the most common health challenges for those aged 15-24.

An estimated 13 per cent of Australian adolescents and young adults experience a substance disorder within a 12-month period.

Professor of health psychology at JCU James Dimmock said exercise programs were a readily accessible, relatively low cost and effective strategy for helping those in treatment programs.

"One particularly interesting suggestion from previous research was that if the exercise was seen as enjoyable and engaging it was linked with even greater positive results," he said. "We believe that people get more enjoyment from an activity when their psychological needs are satisfied.

"These needs are universal and include autonomy, competence and a sense of close connection to others."

The research was conducted on 64 subjects, recruited from a residential drug rehabilitation program.

Originally published as Getting out and about can stop drug abuse


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