Exercise is vital to healthy living and its benefits are manifold.
But people undergoing addiction treatment need it more than a person living clean for a variety of reasons.
Their chemical dependency has made them neglectful of their health, and abuse of drugs and alcohol can alter their body in many ways. This means exercise during addiction recovery or treatment is not only geared for healthy living but also for healing the body and mind.
How Exercise Helps in Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Regain physical fitness
People addicted to alcohol or drugs often end up in physically bad shape, what with them neglecting their health. By the time they arrive in rehab, they’re like to be rail thin with sunken cheeks and yellowed teeth.
By following an exercise regime, they can be on their way back to physical fitness and health. With the ability to relieve and reduce stress, regular exercise is also a good way to regain mental health.
Low self-esteem is one of the many things that addicts suffer from, especially when they look and feel as bad as they do. By getting back into physical shape and feeling good, they can get a boost of self-confidence.
Ease restless leg syndrome symptoms
Restless leg syndrome often happens to people coming off opiates or benzodiazepine drugs. Since a solution to escape discomfort is to keep the legs moving, exercising is sure to help ease symptoms.
Exercise not only relieves stress but also releases the chemical dopamine that plays a role in happiness and endorphins that fight stress. This explains why people feel good after sweating out or engaging in physical activities.
Because addiction recovery is all about feeling good, exercise should be part of the treatment program right from the beginning.
Alter brain chemistry – in a good way
Substance abuse causes the brain to release endorphins the same way exercise does, as mentioned above. The difference is that the abuse of alcohol and drugs will cause an imbalance that interferes with the ability to feel happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure.
Through physical activity, natural levels of endorphins will be reintroduced to your system, making you feel better and re-teaching your body to regulate mood and brain chemistry healthily and naturally.
Sleep more soundly
Many body processes are disrupted by addiction. These include the circadian rhythms, resulting in difficulty in sleeping unless an addict gets their quick fix. With regular exercise, however, health is regained and normal sleep cycle is also restored. When a recovering addict gets to sleep more soundly and wake up well-rested, their body will heal faster.
Fill up time
Leaving rehab means having a great deal of time on their hands, which puts individuals at risk of a relapse if they don’t have anything better to do. If regular workouts are part of their daily schedule, then idle times can be minimized.
It also helps keep boredom and stress at bay, which all work to ensure recovering addicts don’t think about using or becoming chemical dependent again.
As an addict’s body transforms through exercise, they will have a sense of accomplishment and pride. That is one goal reached, after all. As more benchmarks are reached, the more an individual feels accomplished, reinforcing the idea that sobriety is an attainable goal.
Gain opportunities to think clearly
With the way exercise alters the brain, reduces stress, and releases feel-good hormones, a person recovering from addiction will be able to think more clearly about things. Some of these thoughts could open ideas that will change their lives for the better.
With these in mind, get in the habit of regular exercise.
Best Exercises in Rehab
Different rehab programs include different exercises, but the most common are:
- Yoga that doesn’t involve too much effort but can help an individual mentally, physically, and spiritually.
- Tai Chi that not only works the body out in a gentle manner but also serves as a moving meditation.
- Aerobic classes that are suitable for people who have skipped exercise for a long time.
Once you achieve addiction recovery, stay on top of your health and fitness by following various health tips that help achieve a happy and addiction-free life.