Exercise is instrumental for so many aspects of our lives. But regular exercise at the beginning of a recovery from addiction can be instrumental. Addiction is something that changes your body chemistry. And when substances are removed, you end up feeling anxious and become more sensitive to the many stresses in life. Physical activity can offset this, but how?
Stress is an acute problem in the whole process of addiction treatment and recovery. It can lead to relapse if it is not managed properly. One of the best ways to control and reduce stress is through exercise because it releases those feel-good endorphins in the brain but it also improves circulation which can help with stress.
An Improved Mood
Mood changes are associated with recovering from an addiction. Helping your body to adjust by naturally producing the endorphins and feel-good chemicals that were sought after during addiction can improve feelings of well-being and happiness.
Better Quality of Sleep
Sleep issues are very common in recovery. One of the many reasons people start using drugs or alcohol is thinking it would give them the rest they need. Exercise is pivotal to helping the mind and body return to a more even state. Many people participate in more intense exercises as it doesn’t just increase endorphin flow, but is a more physically exhausting task. It’s also been beneficial for people who have anxiety and depression.
Improves the Immune System
Regular exercise can protect the body from certain conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. During the process of recovery and specifically through withdrawal from a substance, it can help to mitigate some of those negative symptoms. For example, feelings of cold or flu.
Recovery from any substance can be exhausting. Regular exercise can improve energy levels. Steady-state cardio or limited weightlifting can help during the process of recovery.
Regular movements can prevent relapse to drugs or alcohol. Exercise has a number of benefits to manage stress, anxiety, and depression which can contribute to a relapse. Additionally, with all of the above points, if exercise is not present, any one of these can result in a relapse.
Which Exercises Are Best for Recovery?
When it comes to exercise there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Everybody will enjoy certain methods of exercise but the goal is to become more active. Some people prefer exercise like yoga or pilates because of the focus demanded on the moves. Whereas others benefit more from martial arts because it gives them the opportunity to focus, operate in a group, while also channeling aggression and stress into something practical.
While exercise is not a replacement for any treatment it is important to know that exercise is vital in the process of recovering from any form of addiction. If you are reading this and you have an addiction, whether it is to substances or an imbalance in your diet, you cannot underestimate why fitness and exercise can be a fantastic process to help in recovery.