Why Does Fitness Aid Addiction Recovery?

Why Does Fitness Aid Addiction Recovery?

Addiction treatment focuses on the healing both the mind and body, and getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to boost recovery in both of these areas. Being active has as many psychological benefits as it does physical, so residential rehab centers are increasingly incorporating exercise into their programs. If they exercise, recovering addicts can regain their physical strength and energy, while decreasing some of the negative consequences of addiction, such as anxiety, depression and having a low self-esteem.

How Does Exercise Help Addiction Recovery?

By the time most addicts seek treatment, they have usually experienced mental and physical health problems, as well as relationship and financial troubles that accompany persistent drug use. The overpowering compulsion to abuse drugs diminishes the desire to maintain healthy aspects of life, like a balanced diet, personal hygiene and physical activity. Fortunately, changing these physical activities can have a psychological impact by encouraging recovering addicts and making them feel more in control of their bodies than they have been in a long time. In other words, aside from improving physical health, exercising helps recovering addicts in the following ways:

  • Boosts endorphins – Drugs are addictive because they stimulate a chemical reward in the brain, but exercise releases endorphins, which are healthy reward chemicals that resemble drugs in their ability to produce a sense of well-being
  • Increases self-esteem – Many addicts know that drugs remove people’s control over their minds and bodies, but exercise gives people a sense of power over their health, and it also causes them to lose fat, grow stronger and look and feel better overall. The self-esteem that exercise fosters can be vital to making a successful recovery.
  • Causes more restful sleep – Almost every psychoactive drug has side effects related to sleep problems: heavy fatigue, insomnia, sleep disturbances and sleep apnea can make restful nights of sleep rare, if not impossible for addicts. But, exercise can aid restful, deep sleep, which can help recovering addicts feel better as they establish routines that promote health.
  • Reduces anxiety and depression – Anxiety and depression are often factors that feed drug addiction, as well as result from it. Exercise can relieve these mental health issues through the chemical stimulation, and they can improve one’s self-image.

In other words, exercise offers many benefits aside from improving physical health.

How Can Exercise Be Incorporated into Addiction Treatment?

Many rehab programs offer various types of fitness programs that incorporate physical exercise. One of the most popular activities for recovering addicts is yoga, which encourages peace and strength of the mind, body and spirit. Time spent outdoors doing activities (such as hiking or jogging) are also known to benefit the mind and body. Gyms with exercise equipment are common features of residential rehab centers.

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If you or a loved one is ready to overcome addiction, then call our toll-free helpline today to speak with an admissions coordinator about professional treatment options. Our staff are available 24 hours a day to help you find a program that will help you end your drug use. Don’t wait; call now for instant support.