What role does exercise play in addiction recovery?

What role does exercise play in addiction recovery? woman

The process of addiction recovery involves making a transition from awareness to action. Needless to say, it is no walk in the park. There are no shortcuts whatsoever, not to mention that, sometimes, the road to sobriety can feel very lonely. The good news is that your best days are in front of you. No matter if you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, recovery is possible. it will require time, motivation, and support. You are not weak and you have the willpower to get over this.

There are several evidence-based approaches to treating addiction, such as talking and counselling. However, people have the tendency to forget that physical exercise is of great help when it comes down to conquering addiction. The advantages of exercises have been discussed time and time again. If you read blogs or Facebook, you are bound to find an article praising the benefits of physical exercise. Not only can exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, but also beat your dependency on psychoactive substances. If you want to find out more about the role of exercise in treating addiction, please continue reading.

Exercise – adjunct treatment in withdrawal

Withdrawal is the process of detoxification, which implies the elimination of toxic substances from the organism. Exercise is effective at managing withdrawal symptoms. Including physical activity in your plan can help if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Exercise boosts the presence of dopamine in the brain. The more dopamine is released, the better you feel. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries signals to the brain, controlling movements, as well as emotional responses. Therefore, exercising can reduce anxiety levels, prevent depression, and decrease the urge to consume psychoactive substances. Research on animals going through withdrawal is substantial. Unfortunately, not the same thing can be said about studies on humans.

Exercise heals the brain and body

According to the experts at help4addiction.co.uk, inpatient rehab programs are making great efforts to combat addiction and have made fitness part of their recovery options for suffering patients. Regardless of the stage of the recovery process, physical activity will turn out to be useful. Physical fitness does more than just alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It increases the number of nerve connections in the brain, so your brain can heal itself from the damage causes by substance abuse. The mind and body will get back to their normal state and the chances of experiencing relapse are slim to none.

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Those who work out on a regular basis report increased feelings of confidence and they are able to start a new life. In other words, they are able to step back into the world and resume their normal lifestyles. Here are some of the ways in which physical activity can benefit your recovery:

  • Improved sleep: Addictive substances like alcohol and opioids can negatively affect sleep. People who are trying to overcome addiction frequently deal with insomnia even though they have stopped consuming these substances altogether. Since sleep depravation can prevent you from making a full recovery, you should better start exercising, as regular exercise enhances the quality and quantity of sleep.
  • Stronger immune system: Alcohol or drugs can affect the immune system in various ways. The immune system is no longer able to protect the body from infection. If you want to have a stronger immune system, exercise more. Working out results in changes in antibodies and white blood cells, which detect and fight illnesses. You are completely protected against heart disease, stroke, or cancer.
  • Forging positive connections: Unfortunately, not everyone will want to follow you on your journey. That is okay because you can make new friends. Working out gives you the chance to meet new people and forge positive connections. It is possible to meet like-minded individuals who will support you in accomplishing your goals.

The point is that physical activity has great potential when it comes down to addiction treatment. It is a new finding with unexplored potential. Attention should be paid to the fact that there are certain limits. To be more precise, exercise will not help you with all the paths to wellness. Working out is great, but it will not help you understand why you came to use psychoactive substances, identify the triggers, learn how to take control of your emotions. Maybe not, but working out during recovery will do you a world of good.

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What role does exercise play in addiction recovery? pills

How to stay committed to exercising

Exercise is not complicated and it does not have to involve competition. It is very important to stick to the exercise routine if you want long-lasting results. Exercise is optional, so you may not feel tempted to hit the gym. It is best to complete your recovery treatment at a specialised facility because the physical activities are carried out in groups and social involvement is encouraged. Why is it so important to dedicate yourself to exercising regularly? Because you will have less time on your hands to think about the bad things in life. Basically, you will not have time for negative thoughts.

If you are on your own, here are some tricks you can use to stay committed to exercising:

1.      Choose something you will enjoy

Maybe it is impossible for you to stick to exercising on a regular basis. This is because you do not like what you do. It is essential to choose an activity that will make you happy, as this will help you achieve your maximum potential. Not everybody is set out to run or play volleyball. Find out which physical activity suits your personality and get into shape. The best exercise routine will turn out to be useless if you do not stick to it.

2.      Make a habit out of exercising

Chances are that you are not used to working out. Instead of trying to insert exercise into your schedule, you should better set time aside for working out. Set a time, set a reminder, and start small. As long as you stay committed to exercise, it does not matter when and how you work out.

Maintaining a routine is not always easy, but it is doable. Push yourself and the results will come.

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