A study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise (2021) examined associations between exercise enjoyment and recovery outcomes for youth undergoing residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.
Youth who, on average, enjoyed exercise more had higher self-esteem, perceived physical health, and relapse prevention efficacy than those who enjoyed it less.
Additionally, on occasions when youth enjoyed exercise more (relative to their own average), they reported higher self-esteem, perceived physical health, and relapse prevention efficacy than on occasions when they reported enjoying it less.
The authors concluded that participation in—and importantly, enjoyment of—exercise was linked to key health indices and predictors of relapse for youth during SUD treatment.
We agree with the researchers that these findings demonstrate that participation in enjoyable structured exercise may provide an important component of successful SUD treatment.
In addition, these results raise the interesting possibility that providing youth with a variety of enjoyable physical activity and sports options might be an important strategy for preventing youth alcohol and drug use as well.
Read the study article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1469029220307858