Fitness in Recovery

Years of research have proven without a doubt that regular exercise relieves many physical ailments. Newer studies confirm there is a powerful link between exercise emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Today most drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs include a fitness component as part of the therapy. The benefits for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction are many:

  • Regular exercise serves as a confidence and self-esteem booster that often results in an improved outlook on life. This is beneficial for recovering addicts who may be struggling with feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Any type of regular exercise relieves symptoms of depression stress frustration and anxiety. Many people find that moderate exercise such as gardening biking swimming walking golf dancing or yoga are particularly helpful.
  • Addicted people who continue to exercise regularly after treatment ends are much less likely to relapse. This is partly because exercise helps work out feelings that may trigger relapse including stress worry and frustration.
  • Exercise is a distraction from powerful cravings and other difficult emotions associated with addiction and recovery.
  • Regular exercise improves sleep. While a good night's sleep is beneficial for anybody it is especially important for people who experience insomnia during or following drug or alcohol treatment In some cases exercise can minimize the discomfort of withdrawal.
  • Drugs and alcohol release powerful brain chemicals known as endorphins. These substances diminish pain and promote feelings of happiness and wellbeing sometimes known as “runner’s high.” There are indications that 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise is enough to release these “feel good” chemicals.
  • For many people regular exercise becomes a healthy replacement for drug or alcohol use or for compulsive behaviors such as overeating or gambling.
  • You don’t need to join a gym or become a marathon runner to reap the benefits. Even moderate exercise such as a brisk ten-minute walk can considerably improve your outlook on life.
  • If you haven’t exercised for awhile begin slowly and build up your fitness level gradually to reduce chances of injury.

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