Regular exercise can be a powerful tool in addiction recovery. Many treatment centers – including our Heartland drug rehab – encourage our patients to begin doing physical activity and promote various activities that combine exercise and addiction recovery in a safe and healthy setting. Physical activity can greatly contribute to physical and psychological recovery from drug and alcohol abuse and make the transition into sobriety smoother. Whether you’re newly sober or have been sober for years, below are several benefits to getting regular exercise.
Exercise and Substance Abuse Recovery
The power of exercise and addiction recovery is often underestimated. A person recovering from a substance use disorder may go through many things, both physically and mentally, including everything from withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings to depression and anxiety. If exercise is encouraged to many for recovery from mental illness and chronic pain, then why wouldn’t we take advantage of it for addiction recovery?
Below are some of the major benefits of exercise for addiction recovery and how it can support you or a loved one in getting sober.
Improved Physical Health
Not only can drug and alcohol abuse directly affect physical health, but addicts will often neglect basic things – such as dental hygiene – that can also impact their physical well-being. Exercise is particularly helpful for maintaining a healthy weight, as many addicts will turn to food to cope with cravings. However, exercising in sobriety can also strengthen their bones and muscles and improve immune function.
Improved Mental Health
While many people tend to focus on the benefits of exercise and addiction recovery for a person’s physical health, exercise can also benefit mental health. Research shows that exercise can boost a person’s mood, reduce stress, and leave them feeling energized. Poor mental health and mood swings are common for someone in early recovery, so exercise can help lower the impact. What’s more, exercise can make the transition into sobriety less strenuous mentally. Exercise can give the individual the physical and mental stimulation they may be used to getting from substances, reducing the risk of relapse.
Structure and Routine
Recovering addicts often find themselves with a lot of free time now that they are no longer focused solely on their drug of choice. If this void is left unfulfilled, it can be the quickest way to relapse as the recovering addict struggles to fill this time appropriately. Exercise can become a healthy activity to fill this void and keep the person from relapsing out of boredom.
Signing up for regular exercise classes or planning a workout regimen can also provide a concrete schedule for the individual, preventing them from becoming bored or allowing their mind to wander to things they shouldn’t. Joining a group or paying for a class or trainer also keeps the individual accountable, making it so they’re less likely to skip out on their workouts.
Quitting drugs and alcohol is stressful for most people for a variety of reasons. In fact, many people started using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and deal with their stress. Additionally, from withdrawal symptoms to boredom to shame and guilt, getting sober requires much change from the individual. Exercise can help recovering addicts by properly managing their stress and releasing endorphins and by offering them a space where they can release any built-up tension.
Struggling with sleep is also common in the early stages of recovery. As with stress, many people start abusing drugs and alcohol to help them sleep, which later results in addiction. Regular exercise can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep, helping the individual create a healthier routine. Getting enough rest is also important for controlling your mood and managing stress and other common issues in recovery.
Does Working Out Help Detox & Withdrawal?
If you are going through drug or alcohol detox, chances are you may be experiencing some uncomfortable side effects. The good news is that working out helps detox and withdrawal, as well. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are mood boosters that can be beneficial when it comes to the onset of depression, a common withdrawal symptom. Exercise has also been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which tend to be highly prevalent during drug detox.
Our Illinois Addiction Recovery Services
Our Heartland treatment center strongly believes that exercise is a key component to getting and staying sober. In fact, we incorporate exercise into our addiction treatment services through adventure therapy. Patients in this program participate in outdoor and indoor physical activities ranging from hiking to swimming. We also offer various inpatient and outpatient services to support clients in their psychological recovery from addiction, ensuring that they receive well-rounded support.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, do not wait to get help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information to learn more about our Illinois addiction treatment.