Every day is a new opportunity to amend your mistakes and give your life a new turn.
If you are an addiction victim, this statement should motivate you because it surely motivated a lot of my other patients who choose life over addiction.
I am a health professional at VSM Detox, who has been treating addiction patients for many years, and I have always advised them to include exercise in their recovery routine.
Believe me or not, it has always worked in their favor.
Hence, I will share my insight on how fitness contributes to addiction recovery.
There are many ways exercise can contribute to overall addiction recovery.
However, you may not realize it, but addiction recovery patients often turn to physical activities as an escape route, and there are good reasons for that.
Let’s take a look:
1: Supports Detox
If you plan to detox in your home, exercise can kickstart your mission in no time.
The purpose of detox is to flush out the unhealthy toxins in your body. When you exercise, you release the same toxin through sweat.
So, even if you are not an addiction victim, exercise can support your detox journey easily.
2: Controls Triggers
When you were undergoing addiction, the substances used to secrete dopamine and endorphin in your mind, giving you a feeling of joy and happiness whenever you took the substance.
Exercise can do the same except in a much healthier way.
It means the next time you hang out in a bar or meet your old drinking buddies on the road; you won’t go back to the haunting memories of when you used to be an addict.
Exercise can teach you to turn triggers into positive reinforcements, which works better in recovery.
3: Prevents Relapse
Do you know what the primary reason behind relapse is?
It’s because you have not yet learned how to handle the negative situations in life without seeking help from addictive substances.
When you start exercising, your self-esteem and confidence improve.
No matter how cliche it sounds, exercise gives you the confidence to look up and say ‘Try Me’ instead of ‘Why Me?’
Thus, your chances of relapse lower every day once you are used to an exercise routine.
4: Reduces Cravings
In my experience of 10 years as a rehab specialist, I have found many of my patients saying exercise helped them reduce addiction cravings.
When people spend time in rehab, they live life in a structured manner and are bound by daily routine. Therefore, a daily workout session maintains the feeling of living a structured life.
Yoga, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, boxing, and cross-fit are exercises that can help reduce addiction cravings.
So, try them right now!
5: Forges Positive Connection With People
People often find much free time in their hands when they are in recovery. However, when you are in recovery, you don’t have many friends left in your life.
The people who used to be in your life mainly were your addiction buddies.
Now, you don’t want to stay in touch with them since you are in recovery.
This is why you should join an exercise group and meet new people to socialize, have fun, and talk. You can find such groups at the gym, in the swimming club, yoga club, running club, etc.
6: Promotes Better Sleep
The impact of addiction on someone’s sleeping pattern can be mixed. You may have chosen addiction in the first place because you were an insomniac.
On the other hand, you may have slept fine for all these years, but addiction has disrupted that pattern, and now that you are in recovery, your eyes are still wide open at night.
If that’s the case, exercise could be a good alternative because when you move your body and stretch your muscles, the core body temperature starts falling, helping you sleep.
7: Boosts Energy Levels
When you are in recovery, you may find yourself being fatigued and exhausted most of the time.
You will fall asleep from time to time and if you don’t know how to handle this situation, it’s time you turn to professionals for help.
Any professional will tell you that you lack the energy to function like everyone else during recovery, which is why exercise is a good way to help you boost your energy levels.
It increases oxygen circulation in your body and boosts mitochondria’s energy production simultaneously.
8: Combats Health Conditions
You may not realize it but when you were in active addiction, you hampered your physical fitness noticeably.
Malnutrition, digestive issues, heart and liver diseases alongside neuron damage are common health conditions in people suffering from addiction.
However, too much addiction can also cause mental health problems.
Hence, exercise is the one true cure to combat this plethora of health conditions, and once you understand this benefit, nothing will stop you from living a healthy life free of addictive substances.
9: Controls Weight
Many people turn to addiction because of body image and self-esteem issues, whereas there are healthier ways to gain and lose weight.
If you have given up looking for shortcuts to controlling your body weight, some exercises can help you manage your weight.
You can take the help of exercise bikes or try some weight lifting in the gym.
But, whichever way you choose, you must be dedicated to it. If you see you are looking good, you won’t feel like turning to addiction anymore. Thus, it hits two birds with one stone.
10: Improves Physical And Mental Endurance
Performing regular exercise strengthens your lungs and heart and takes care of your cardiovascular health.
You may remember when you were in active addiction, your stamina, and endurance suffered significantly.
If you start exercising, your endurance level improves both physical and mental, which can help you stay sober during recovery.
Aerobic exercises like dancing, jogging, and running that can elevate your breathing are the best for improving your endurance level.
Wrapping It Up
You may not know how addiction has ruined your life yet, but once you come into recovery, you will know it and need support during that time.
Exercise will be the best companion you will find during this time, and once you understand its benefits, you will take one step towards a healthy life.
You can let us know for further questions in the comment section below.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!