What Role Does Exercise Play in Recovery?
Healing from drug or alcohol addiction requires a comprehensive treatment approach that incorporates a variety of healing methods that target psychological and physical healing from the impacts of substance abuse. For many addiction treatment plans, a component of physical activity and exercise is added to your healing plan as engaging in physical activity has been known to significantly benefit a person’s overall health and well-being. For many individuals living in active addiction, life can often feel chaotic with little to no structure due to becoming hyper-focused on fueling their addiction and dealing with the residual impacts and negative consequences of drug and alcohol addiction. Engaging in a regular exercise routine provides individuals with a sense of routine and structure that helps to bring consistency and stability to their life.
Individuals in addiction recovery are encouraged to participate in various forms of exercise as it helps to smooth the transition from substance abuse into a new life of addiction recovery. Exercise helps to increase the dopamine levels within your brain that provide the same “feel good” emotions and sensations. Those in active addiction often seek a high level of intoxication that promotes increased dopamine levels that help escape troubling emotions or cope with difficult thoughts and situations. A key component of your addiction recovery process is to develop new methods of coping and tools for emotional regulation that will support you in overcoming any triggers and staying focused on your overarching goal of maintaining sobriety. Physical activity and exercise are a positive outlet for individuals that require stress relief and acts as an effective tool for emotional regulation and release. The more individuals engage in regular forms of exercise, the more they can strengthen their physical health and stabilize their emotional and mental health allowing them to remain on the road to recovery.
8 Benefits of Fitness During Addiction Recovery
Living in addiction recovery and maintaining your sobriety requires you to take the necessary steps to maintain your psychological and physical health. Even when you are living free and clear of drug and alcohol abuse, there will still be difficulties that can present themselves, and sometimes there are triggers that will occur. Having a regular routine incorporating physical activity and fitness has several benefits that will help foster your new path in life of sober living. Benefits that individuals experience from engaging in physical activity and fitness in addiction recovery are:
- Reduce any withdrawal symptoms. Physical exercise helps to reduce the feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress which are common symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- Help with stress reduction. As you experience difficult and stressful times, physical fitness will help you release any tension or stress through the increase in endorphins produced during physical exercise. Physical activity supports proper, healthy circulation which is known to reduce any feelings of stress or tension
- Act as a method of relapse prevention. As you experience triggers, engaging in physical activity will help to act as a distraction and support you in focusing on a healthy activity rather than slipping back into old habits.
- Improve your sleep patterns and quality. Physical exercise allows your body to create a regular daily schedule and exert physical and psychological energy which helps to increase the quality of your sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Improve your mood. Engaging in regular physical activity helps to increase the levels of dopamine and endorphins being produced which will work to increase your overall moods and emotions.
- Strengthen your immune system. Studies have shown that engaging in physical activity will help you protect your body from developing diseases or health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis.
- Increase in energy levels. When you engage in physical activity and exert physical energy, your body will be able to replenish those energy levels, making you feel more alert and ready for the day.
- Enhance your self-esteem and confidence. The more you can achieve new milestones in your physical fitness, the more your feelings of self-worth and confidence will increase.
What Are Some of the Best Exercises for a Person in Recovery?
Engaging in any form of physical activity is positive for someone in addiction recovery. There are benefits of engaging in physical exercise and fitness in addiction recovery. Some exercises are recommended for individuals to start out with to help ease into their new fitness regime. Aerobic or cardio exercise has benefits for individuals to increase their cardiovascular health and physical strength. Some cardio or aerobic exercises that you can engage in are:
- Water aerobics
- Light gardening
Another form of physical exercise that individuals can begin to participate in during their addiction recovery process is resistance training. These forms of exercise help to increase physical strength, improve mental focus, and provide a structured workout routine that will foster a new lifestyle in addiction recovery that requires discipline and concentration. Some forms of resistance exercises that you can engage in are:
- Weight training
- Push-ups or sit-ups
- Heavy gardening duties such as digging
- Resistance bands training
No matter which forms of exercise you choose to engage in, it is important that you find an activity that works best for you and your lifestyle. Allow yourself time to ease into your new routine and find a healthy balance of exercising at a healthy rate that ensures you are not overdoing your exercise routine.
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Using Exercise As a Form of Addiction Treatment
An addiction treatment program will often incorporate forms of physical fitness as part of a treatment plan. Exercise can’t be the only treatment method but is a beneficial component of a comprehensive treatment plan that utilizes various evidence-based therapy methods. Exercise tends to complement the progress that patients make by increasing their physical fitness and overall psychological health As you heal from your underlying causes of addiction and begin to explore tools and coping skills for relapse prevention, exercise allows patients the time you need to process your healing journey and strengthen new coping skills through physical fitness. Patients can establish a new daily routine that fosters healthy, sober living, incorporating physical fitness and exercise.
WhiteSands Can Assist You in Developing a Fitness and Addiction Recovery Plan
At WhiteSands, we offer patients a treatment plan that fosters healing and addiction recovery while supporting them to gain the ability to maintain their physical and psychological health through our whole-person integrated approach to healing. Our team will work with you to develop an addiction recovery plan that is centered around your unique needs and goals for addiction recovery. We will provide you with opportunities to overcome physical dependence on drugs and alcohol through effective detox programs, heal from your root causes of addiction through evidence-based therapy methods, and heal your body, mind, and spirit through recreational and physical activity. Finding a fitness routine that is right for you is our highest priority to ensure that you get the most from your healing experience and can form a strong foundation for your new life in addiction recovery. Call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today to hear more about the personalized treatment plan our team will create for you that will put you on the right track for your recovery.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.