Thank you Amanda for today’s post!
Whether suffering from a drug, alcohol, sex, or shopping addiction, the road to recovery is often a long journey for recovering addicts and their supporters. Many would conclude that recovery is a lifelong process that will require an effective plan, determination, and a great deal of patience and support. While there are many avenues one could take in maintaining their sobriety, new reports suggest that exercise can have a significant impact on those trying to recover from addiction. Exercise is said to help in restoring both the physical and psychological damage that the chemical dependency of addiction has caused. Still not convinced? Well, below are just a few more reasons to consider sticking to a fitness routine throughout your recovery process.
Exercise Minimizes Stress
Every time you workout, the brain releases endorphins throughout the body. Endorphins are hormones that create what is called a natural high. Unlike the endorphins that are released while abusing drugs and alcohol, endorphins released from exercise do not affect a person’s ability to feel satisfaction and pleasure. Committing to some form of physical activity on the daily basis while recovering will help your body to produce normal levels of endorphins once again. Over a period of time the body begins to feel a lot better and learns once again how to regulate your brain chemistry and mood in a healthier manner.
Exercise Creates Structure
One of the biggest problems recovering addicts face during recovery is filling up their time. Idle time allows for negative thoughts and actions to fill their day. As such, a fitness routine gives them a set schedule to commit to on the regular basis. Exercise is obviously a constructive activity and as a result will help to prevent the need to relapse.
Exercise Can Act as Meditation (of Sorts)
It is believed that by having an exercise routine, recovering addicts get to experience some form of meditation. By focusing on the physical aspects of exercise, participants are able to experience both the emotional and psychological benefits. Each movement required in exercise routines allows participants to take their minds off of whatever might be going on in their mind or their daily lives. Many participants complete their workout feeling a lot more optimistic about life in general.
Exercise Improves Confidence
When you feel good on the outside, it can often translate to how you feel on the inside. Many who participate in exercise routines over time find that they feel a lot better about their physical selves. There is a lot more self confidence and optimism. Recovering addicts can feel good about their accomplishments and take more pride in who they are as individuals.
Exercise Doesn’t Mean Hit the Gym
There are some individuals who simply don’t like the idea of going to the gym every day. While gym workouts are great forms of exercise, this is not your only option. Exercise simply means some form of physical activity. There are plenty of options that can be considered exercise that would provide the same benefits as those described above. If you’re into playing sports, joining a community sports team would suffice. If you’re into dancing, you might join a dance class or even a Zumba class to combine both dancing and fitness routines. As long as you’re getting your heart rate pumping, exercise can encompass various activities. As you can see, incorporating some form of exercise or physical activity into your daily routine can significantly improve your chances of staying sober. If you’re currently being treated for addiction, you can always inquire about exercise programs within your treatment facility. Many of them offer exercise treatment options including group sessions followed by individual therapy sessions for additional support. If you’re contemplating the idea of incorporating exercise after rehab, be sure to pace yourself accordingly and choose something that you enjoy so that you can receive the maximum benefits possible.
The Huffington Post, Kristine Lockwood, Can Exercise Help Treat Addiction, 2/22/2012.
Black Bear Lodge, Maintaining a Fitness Plan Throughout Recovery,
Helpguide.org,Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D, Overcoming Drug
Addiction, Substance Abuse Treatment, Recovery, and Help, 2/2015.