addiction-recovery

Pumping Iron for Sobriety: The Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery

Most people are well aware of the challenges that people face when they’re going through the addiction recovery process.

When people first quit drugs or alcohol, they often experience intense cravings. They also typically encounter a series of withdrawal symptoms.

But one of the biggest challenges that people are forced to face over time is the boredom that comes along with quitting drugs or alcohol. People suddenly have so much free time and no idea what to do with it all.

Exercising can help with this particular problem. When people who are going through addiction recovery make exercise a bigger part of their life, it chews up a lot of their time. This makes it easier to say “no!” to drugs or alcohol.

And this is far from the only benefit that recovering addicts will enjoy when they exercise on a regular basis. Here are 6 others.

  1. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that affects almost everyone in America. One recent poll revealed that the U.S. is one of the most stressed-out countries in the entire world.

Stress is what drives a lot of people to use drugs and to drink, and it can also lead those who are in addiction recovery to revert back to their old ways. Many people will relapse and run back to a substance after going to drug rehab simply because they can’t handle the stress in their lives.

Exercise is one of the ultimate stress-busters. By going for a run, lifting weights, or taking part in a fitness class, a person can eliminate almost all of the stress that they feel.

Exercise releases endorphins within the body that can also reduce the symptoms associated with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. It can work wonders for a person’s overall well-being.

  1. Rebuilds the Body

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t take great care of their bodies. They’re so worried about finding their next high or getting their hands on their next drink that they don’t eat or exercise enough.

The good news is that a person can reverse a lot of the damage that addiction can do to their bodies. But they need to be willing to work at it over time.

They can put themselves back on the right track by making it a point to hit the gym at least a few times every week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get at least 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity” or 75 minutes of “vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.”

But it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for someone in addiction recovery to work out even more than that. This will allow them to rebuild muscles that haven’t been used for a long time and increase their overall strength.

They should also maintain a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of essential vitamins and minerals as well as other nutrients.

  1. Makes It Easier to Make New Friends

One of the biggest mistakes people make when recovering from an addiction is spending time around old friends who are still using drugs or drinking alcohol. This puts them right back in the center of all the action and makes it difficult for them to abstain from drugs and alcohol.

To combat this, people should strive to surround themselves with new friends who don’t use drugs or drink alcohol if possible. But it can be tough to do this when you consider that most people stop making new friends sometime around the age of 25.

Exercise can make it a little easier by allowing people to form bonds with others based on their love for working out. It’s easy to create connections with new people when you’re taking part in an activity like exercising that you both enjoy.

  1. Increases Energy

In theory, working out all the time might seem like it would zap you of all your energy during addiction recovery. And at first, it might just do that. Your body won’t be used to going for long runs or lifting heavy weights at the start.

But over the course of a few weeks, working out can increase the oxygen levels in your body quite a bit and make you feel more energetic all the time. This will give you the energy you need to make it through your days without giving in to any temptations that surround you.

  1. Improves Sleep

Drug and alcohol addiction can make it almost impossible for a person to get a decent night of sleep. It’s not uncommon for those who use drugs or drink all the time to get just a few hours of sleep each day.

It’s important for people to get back on normal sleep schedules during addiction recovery. Exercise can help with this over a period of a few months.

You may struggle to fall asleep at the beginning of addiction recovery. But over time, working out with help to regulate the systems in your body and prepare your body for sleep each and every night.

  1. Provides a Strong Sense of Purpose

Beating an addiction once and for all requires a person to find something new to focus on in life. That might mean focusing on repairing relationships with family members or focusing on getting an education and a better job.

Exercise can help in this area, too. Working out will call for a person to set goals for themselves and work hard to achieve them. This will provide them with a sense of purpose and give them a good reason to get up each day.

Stay on the Right Path During Addiction Recovery

Exercise is regarded as one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for those in addiction recovery. People who exercise in recovery often increase their chances of avoiding relapse.

But before a person starts to use exercise on the road to recovery, it’s essential for them to get the addiction treatment they need. It’ll make their recovery process go a lot smoother by giving them the necessary tools.

Take a look at what our addiction center treats and contact us today to take advantage of our services.

References:

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.

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