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7 Ways Exercise Can Help You Recover From Addictions

7 Ways Exercise Can Help You Recover From Addictions

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you’re struggling to overcome an addiction, it helps to know you’re not alone. About one in seven Americans face a substance addiction in their lifetime. However, only 10% of people receive treatment. 

Give yourself the best chance of maintaining your addiction. You can recover from addictions and stick to it with ease with healthy habits like exercise.

With healthy habits like exercise, if you’ve undergone treatment for your addiction, it helps to do everything possible to maintain your sobriety. Otherwise, all your hard work could go down the drain. Worse yet, addiction can ruin your body and mind.

Keep reading to discover how a weekly workout schedule can improve your health and help you recover!

1. Improved Mood

Working out can make you feel physically and mentally better.

Exercise stimulates different chemicals within your brain, and feel-good brain chemicals can give your brain a boost, reducing depression symptoms. As a result, improving your brain biochemistry can help you recover from addictions.

Many people associate exercise with a runner’s high. As you get your blood pumping, your brain experiences a release of endorphins. Endorphins are one of the neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, that can boost your mood.

These chemical messengers are responsible for reducing your pain and stress levels.

In addition to stimulating endorphin production, exercise can also help your body release:

  • Serotonin
  • Norepinephrine
  • Dopamine

Each of these neurotransmitters can improve your mood.

Serotonin can help regulate your mood. In fact, serotonin deficiency is commonly associated with insomnia and anxiety. Increasing natural serotonin deficiency can also help:

  • Regulate your anxiety, happiness, and mood
  • Control bowel movements and function
  • Heal wounds and form blood clots
  • Maintain bone health
  • Reduce nausea symptoms
  • Help you sleep
  • Help you feel calm and more focused
  • Boost your appetite

Increasing these neurotransmitters can also help reduce fight-or-flight stress hormones throughout your body. Reducing your stress can improve your physical health. Otherwise, excess cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause weight gain, acne, headaches, and other health concerns. 

2. Sweet Dreams

Are you having a difficult time falling asleep each night? Without the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, you could experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Impaired attention, alertness, and problem-solving
  • Increase risk of heart issues, stroke, and diabetes
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Depression symptoms
  • Skin issues (fine lines, lackluster skin, dark circles, reduced collagen elves)
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impaired judgment

Getting enough sleep each night can help you recover from addiction. Otherwise, you’ll feel irritable and struggle to manage your withdrawal symptoms. Working out with friends can help tire you out before bed.  

By improving your sleep hygiene can help you feel more alert and awake during the day. Then, you can better equip yourself to handle your withdrawal symptoms and fight a relapse.

After working out, your body will cool down at a faster rate. This process can help encourage your body to sleep and heal! 

3. Productive Distractions

As an addict, your life might have lacked structure and scheduling. Without structure, you might return to your old bad habits and routine. Working out regularly can help you recover from addictions by giving your life a new structure. 

Try to establish a weekly workout schedule for yourself. Include different exercises on different days to give each area of your body proper time to rest. 

In addition to giving your schedule some structure, working out also provides you with a productive distraction. A full workout will take at least 45-minutes from your day. By keeping yourself busy, you can distract yourself from your addiction.

At the same time, you’re reducing your stress in a healthy way.

Exercising is a productive coping mechanism. You can use workouts to distract yourself from drugs and alcohol while benefiting your overall health.

4. Support Systems

You don’t have to work out alone. Instead, consider working out with friends or meeting new people at the gym! 

Working out is a great way to meet people in a healthy environment. If you’re used to spending time at a bar, spend time at the gym instead. Participating in sports or going to the gym each day will help you meet new people who can benefit your recovery. 

At the same time, you’re surrounding yourself with a support system. 

Lean on one another and cheer each other on. Your new friends can help you accomplish your health goals while providing you with a healthy distraction from drugs. 

As a result, working out with friends can help you maintain your sobriety and improve your overall health. 

5. Happy Healing

Addiction can put your body through a lot of wear and tear. By establishing a weekly workout schedule, you’re also establishing a physical and mental recovery routine for yourself.

Exercise can help protect your mind and body from: 

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease

Exercise can also increase your chances of living a longer life. 

Explore different options for cardio to get your heart pumping each day! With regular exercise, you can recover from your addiction and strengthen your body. Otherwise, you’re leaving yourself at risk for these diseases in your old age.

6. Reduced Stress

Remember, stress can have a dangerous impact on your mental and physical health.

One of the best ways to reduce your overall stress is to exercise each day. However, many addicts have developed the habit of reaching for drugs or alcohol to cope with their stress. By replacing exercise with your old coping habits, you can recover from addictions and reduce your stress.

As you raise your heart rate, your body will release stress-reducing neurotransmitters. At the same time, you’re regulating cortisol production. As a result, you’re easing stress and teaching yourself not to lean on your addiction.  

7. Eases Addictive Behaviors

According to research, physical exercise can:

  • Increase the abstinence rate
  • Ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce anxiety and depression 

In other words, exercise can help reduce your long-established addictive behaviors.

Try to exercise regularly to reduce your drug-seeking behaviors. It’s important to establish a schedule. That way, you can turn your exercise routine into a healthy habit!

Regular Exercise Can Help You Recover From Addictions

It’s time to get your heart pumping. With regular exercise, you can recover from addictions and improve your overall health. Discover your happy, healthy exercise routine and keep your addiction at bay today!

Want to become a drug and alcohol counselor to help someone cope with their addiction? Explore our certificate programs today to get the education you need first!

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