There is no doubt that physical activity is good for the mind, body and soul. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there are several, far-reaching benefits of exercise for addiction recovery.
Generally speaking, exercise can help improve our overall health by significantly reducing the risk of developing serious metabolic and heart related diseases.
However, how can exercise help individuals who are recovering from addiction?
Apart from the obvious physical benefits of exercise, there are also several mental, emotional and spiritual benefits that one can enjoy from being physically active.
The connection between exercise and addiction recovery lies in the fact that any person who is recovering from substance abuse is undergoing several, extreme changes and adjustments both physically and mentally.
Although the long-term benefits of sobriety are evident, the present moment of these changes can make a normal day feel unbearable for someone in recovery.
Below we discuss 4 major benefits of exercise for addiction recovery.
It’s almost paradoxical, but using our energy to exercise will reward us with more energy.
As our fitness levels increase, we find daily activities and tasks much easier to complete.
During recovery, we no longer have our substance of choice as the crutch which helps us through the day. So, we re-learn that the demands of daily life can be taxing.
However, with high energy levels and increased endorphins that come with regular exercise, we overcome these challenges with more ease.
While the body adjusts to a life of sobriety, our sleeping pattern may be significantly impacted. This may mean that we are either overly tired, having naps during the day or that we are unable to fall asleep or remain sleeping for long enough to feel rested.
Erratic sleeping patterns can cause us to feel lethargic and extremely low on energy which in turn can promote feelings of depression. It’s now clear that having a healthy sleeping pattern is a key part of addiction recovery.
By regulating important, normal bodily functions, exercise plays a major role in contributing to a healthy sleeping pattern.
Exercise helps increase the production of endorphins which are responsible for making us feel positive.
Both high intensity exercise such as running or cardio workouts and low intensity exercise such as yoga or walking are hugely beneficial for reducing stress.
With stress being a major trigger factor for many people in recovery, it’s vital that it’s managed in a healthy manner to avoid the risk of relapse.
With enough rest, we can wake up feeling energised and mentally alert, ready to embrace the day and all the challenges that may come with it.
When in recovery, our mood is likely to fluctuate; some days more dramatically than others.
A fluctuating mood can have a negative impact on the recovery process, as we can easily find ourselves lacking in motivation or falling into feelings of depression.
However, thanks to the endorphins released in the brain during exercise, when we engage in just 30 minutes of physical activity a day, our overall mood will stabilise and improve.
To find out more about our rehabilitation programs and why exercise is a crucial part of addiction recovery, please feel free to contact us.
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