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Why You Should Exercise During Withdrawal

Why You Should Exercise During Withdrawal

Why You Should Exercise During Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be filled with a variety of unpleasant symptoms that can range from slightly uncomfortable to severe.

The exact withdrawal symptoms and their severity will vary from person to person based on their health, addiction, age, body, and detox program. While moving around may be the last thing on your mind when you are combating headaches and nausea, a little bit of exercise during withdrawal could be a big help.

Is It Safe to Exercise During Withdrawal?

It is safe to exercise during withdrawal if you do so with caution, and it can even be beneficial. Try to engage in light exercises like walking, jogging, stretching, yoga, biking or swimming if you are feeling up to it. Be careful not to push yourself too hard as your body is still trying to recover. If you start to feel dizzy or sick, stop and consult a doctor. Those with preexisting health conditions that could be exacerbated during withdrawal should proceed with caution and get their doctor’s permission.

The Benefits of Exercise During Withdrawal

Whether you are detoxing at home or going through the process at a drug detox center, withdrawal can be uncomfortable both physically and mentally. Painkillers and relaxing can only do so much. Exercising during withdrawal could help you with the withdrawal process in more ways than one.

Boost Mood

Withdrawal symptoms aren’t just physical. Many people going through withdrawal become moody and depressed. Exercise has been proven to boost people’s moods. Regular exercise can also lead to long-term benefits like alleviating some depression.1

Improve Immunity

Prolonged drug and alcohol abuse can lead to health issues and weaken the body as a whole, including the immune system. Exercise can boost the immune system by circulating white blood cells and antibodies in the body faster so that illnesses get detected earlier when they are easier to defeat.2

Better Sleep

Insomnia and sleep disturbances occur frequently for people in early recovery because they may have poor sleep habits and sleep cycles that have been disrupted. Exercise can be an effective way to improve sleep time as well as sleep quality.3 Improved sleep can be especially helpful for people in recovery as it can aid in the healing process.

Fight Fatigue

Fatigue is not uncommon in the withdrawal process, especially for an alcohol detox program, but exercise during alcohol withdrawal could reduce this problem. Routine low-intensity exercise decreases fatigue by 65% and increases people’s energy levels by 20%.4 Regular exercise during withdrawal could not only help people combat fatigue during detox, but also give them more energy to partake in other helpful addiction therapies and programming.

Battle Addiction Cravings

Risk of relapse is especially high in the early stages of recovery. Many individuals going through detox experience intense alcohol or drug cravings that they struggle to ignore. Animal studies suggest that regular exercise can decrease their self-administration of drugs. A study on the impact of a regular exercise program for people who misused drugs also found that several participants reduced their drug misuse or got sober altogther.5 While research in this area is still new, exercise may be an effective way to fight drug cravings.

Whether you or a loved one is thinking about getting sober, we want to help. To learn more about our programs at Banyan Boca or to start the admissions process, reach out to us now at 888-280-4763.


  1. American Psychological Association - The exercise effect
  2. Medline Plus - Exercise and immunity
  3. NCBI - Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review
  4. ScienceDaily - Low-intensity Exercise Reduces Fatigue Symptoms By 65 Percent, Study Finds
  5. Harvard Health - Can exercise help conquer addiction?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Why You Should Exercise During Withdrawal
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