An exercise program brought unexpected results at the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center at the Long Beach Naval Station. Three psychologists, who believed that their alcoholic patients continued to drink because of a poor self image, initiated an exercise and jogging program to reduce their patients weight and improve their physical condition. After several weeks, personality tests showed that while the alcoholics health had greatly improved, they still held mighty low opinions of themselves.
Despite this, other benefits accrued as they continued to exercise. They slept better, were more active and alert, and chose more nutritious foods from the chow line. The hoped for turnabout, a sharpened interest in attending therapy sessions and A.A. meetings, was triggered by the exercise program. The exercise, along with improved nutrition, proved to be the key to getting many of them off the bottle.
The benefits of exercise and good nutrition go hand in liand. In the study mentioned earlier, we found that the exercisers consumed approximately the same number of total calories as the nonexercisers, yet had a higher intake of every vitamin, mineral, and amino acid studied. They also consumed far less coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.
There are subtle reasons why the physically active are likely to prefer more nutritious foods than the sedentary. Exercising helps control blood glucose levels and thus aids in preventing the hypoglycemic cycle, with its craving for sweets and stimulants. Controlled exercise programs have even helped diabetics get along with lower insulin doses.
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