Does exercise benefit men and women in early recovery?
Addiction to drugs and alcohol can cause serious havoc on an individual’s emotional and physical well-being. This explains the importance of healing not only the body but also the mind when undergoing drug and alcohol rehab. Exercise is an important component of healing individuals that are recovering from substance use disorders and it helps in tackling cravings during addiction treatment. Let’s shed some light on how those recovering from addiction can benefit from regular exercise.
Fitness & Recovery Are Related
Just like in the world of fitness, when you’re working out, you’ll need to strive to achieve your goals every single day. It’s all about discipline and having a routine. Recovery is kind of the same way, wouldn’t you agree? We need to work on our sobriety every single day or we will start slipping sooner or later. Fitness and recovery are more related than most people realize. Incorporating a workout routine into your life when you’re newly sober can add an additional layer of structure and motivation to avoid a relapse. The benefits of exercise in addiction recovery include:
Reduction of Stress
Most individuals usually consume a high quantity of alcohol and drugs in order to overcome stress. However, what started as a voluntary use later becomes addictive. The relief from stress that is being sought after by abusing drugs becomes more allusive and then disappears completely. The use of alcohol or drugs later becomes the bedrock of stress. Engaging in physical activities that increase the heart rate goes a long way in reducing stress. As an individual that is recovering from substance abuse, you need to get used to engaging in physical exercises in order to recover easily and stay sober. Regular physical exercise will help you reduce stress in the short and long term. Exercise releases chemicals that suppress stress in the brain. This will help recovering individuals maintain balance in their lives.
Problematic sleep usually occurs in the early stage of recovery. Irrespective of the kind of drug you abused, withdrawal from using drugs can seriously affect your sleep. Inability to fall asleep, staying asleep or the need to sleep in the middle of the day can increase after substance abuse and this can make those recovering from addiction feel sluggish and tired. Regular physical exercise will help recovering individuals enjoy a better quality of sleep. It also lowers the impulse to sleep in the middle of the day. As your sleep improves, you will become more awake and alert. This helps you to be able to stand up to the demands and challenges of life in sobriety.
Exercise helps improve your body by altering your body temperature. The temperature of the body is usually at the highest level during engaging in aerobic or weightlifting exercises (it’s at the lowest level while sleeping). Hours after engaging in physical exercise, your body will cool off at a very fast rate. This increased cooling process will allow you to easily enjoy sound sleep.
Just like meditation, exercise helps you focus on your well-being and not on the challenges and stresses that you go through every day. Individuals in recovery that engage in physical exercises usually feel more relaxed and they also have clearer thoughts.
Increased Confidence and Optimism
Exercise contributes to increasing a recovering individual’s confidence. It helps those suffering from addiction and other co-occurring disorders to overcome depression and anxiety. This is as a result of the physiological changes that take place after exercising. Achieving fitness goals also produces feelings of pride and self-worth.
Although you may use lots of energy while engaging in physical exercises, you will also receive energy in the process. The whirlwind of recovery can make you tired, but regular exercise will energize you and put you back on track to scale through the recovery process.
Prevention of Relapse
This is probably one of the greatest benefits of exercise for addiction recovery. Regular exercises prevent the individual from returning to abusing alcohol or drugs. Rehab programs that include daily exercise usually help the recovering individuals maintain their newfound long-term sobriety.
Get all the exercise you can!
Regular exercise and staying active is an effective tool for strengthening your personal recovery. Irrespective of the form of exercise that you partake in (yoga, running, team sports or aerobics), you need to keep moving so that you can increase your chances staying sober and healthy for many years to come.