Overcoming strong drug addiction and crippling alcohol addiction is a challenge for your mind, body, and soul. As such, you will greatly benefit from exploring recovery methods that integrate benefits for all three. What can you do on a regular basis that helps your mind, body, and soul? Exercise, of course!
Everyone knows that exercise keeps you healthy, has benefits to the cardiovascular and respiratory system, and can help build up impressive muscles. But if you talk to any true gym aficionado, they will tell you that exercise brings mental and emotional benefits as well. All of the things about exercise that gym-regulars love is also great for people who are fighting substance addiction.
Consider these great benefits of regular exercise and how they can help with addiction recovery:
- Immune system boost: Exercise that gets your blood flowing and oxygen cycling through your system have been shown in numerous studies to actually benefit your immune system and boost cell regeneration. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause significant damage to your body in multiple forms. Making certain you get a good exercise routine going a few times a week can expedite the healing process you and your body need.
- Keeps you busy: There is a saying about idle hands leading people into trouble, and it is quite true for people struggling with substance addiction. Exercise can fill up the blank spots in your schedule in which you might have otherwise felt tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol for recreation.
- Treats insomnia: A major health consequence of substance abuse for many users is insomnia or a pervasive feeling of restlessness. A robust exercise session is sure to wear you down and trigger your brain to want sleep. Of course, as you get more and more sleep, you will start to feel better and better, further helping you shake your dependence on a substance to “feel good.”
- Stress reduction: People have long considered exercise as a fantastic source of stress relief. Not only does it feel good to be active and improving your health, but exercise will also release endorphins into your body that specialize in fighting the worst signs of stress.
- Energy increase: Challenging substance addiction head-on can require ample amounts of energy. Using the support of family, friends, and professional rehabilitation centers is a good way to make certain you have the energy to keep going. Stack the odds of recovery further in your favor by also exercising routinely. As your body gets into better shape due to respiratory and cardiovascular improvements, you will naturally find you have more energy than before.
- Emotional outlet and control: When you are working out, especially if the exercise is strenuous, you will find it can act as an outlet for anger and frustrations. Better yet, as you see gradual improvements in your exercise routine, like adding more weight for a lift or more miles for a run, you will start to gain deserved self-confidence. All things considered, exercise can help you get a better control of your emotions, which is crucial for many people if they want to decidedly defeat drug or alcohol addiction.
What Exercise Should I Use to Fight Substance Addiction?
Is there a particular exercise form or method that is better than the next to help with addiction recovery? Not really! What is important is that you find an exercise that you actually enjoy so you do not have to convince yourself to get active again. You should be able to set your exercise schedule and look forward to the next session.
Consider some of these popular exercises people use when fighting substance addiction:
- You might prefer yoga if you are a quieter person who likes tranquility and a place to focus on yourself. Do not be fooled by common misconceptions, though — yoga is actually a difficult exercise that can get you sweating and sore before you know it.
- If you are someone who feels at home in the outdoors, hiking is probably the best exercise outlet for you. Check your local area for safe trails. See if you have any friends, family members, or coworkers who would like to form a hiking group, too. Together, we are stronger.
- To get physically, mentally, and spiritually tougher, consider weight training. Be careful not to rush into heavy weights and potentially hurting yourself, though. If you are not familiar with safe lifting methods, you are encouraged to go to a professional gym and work with a trainer until you are comfortable enough to work out on your own.
Scottsdale Rehab Specializing in Addiction Recovery
At Acceptance Recovery Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we are here to help people find sobriety and defeat substance addiction through a variety of means and methods, including exercise. We offer fully customized therapy programs that focus on what each guest requires most to feel right again. Many of our clients enjoy our guided yoga and meditation sessions and daily opportunities to go to the gym. We have also created several experiential and unique therapies that focus on physical activity, motion, and coordination, such as hiking classes around local pathways and professionally-instructed rock climbing with safety gear and equipment. Our volleyball matches are especially popular among our patients, who enjoy the chance to get some exercise with a fun, competitive aspect to it as well. We would be happy to discuss all of our programs with you in more detail.
If you or a loved one needs overcoming addiction, please let us help. Call or contact us online to get a free assessment.
Dr. Greg Gale has been practicing and providing leadership in the field of psychiatry, substance use, and integrated care in the Phoenix metropolitan area for over 11 years. He joins us from his role as a national medical director overseeing behavioral health, substance use, and integrated care services for Humana Behavioral Health. Previously, he was CMO and VP of Clinical Services at Partners in Recovery, a not-for-profit behavioral health and substance use service organization, which operates five clinics throughout Maricopa County.