Substances such as drugs and alcohol can have significant detrimental effects on the physical body as well as on the mind. Recovery from addiction often means recovering from those damaging effects. Physical exercise is recommended as part of a holistic approach to treatment, for many reasons. In addition to the obvious improvements you can make through exercise, there are actually benefits of exercise in addiction recovery that are not directly related to building muscle or losing weight, the primary reasons people tend to include exercise in their daily routine.
The physical effects on your body from drug and alcohol addiction can usually be overcome through exercise. You may have had poor eating habits because of your addiction, either eating too little or too much – or too much of the wrong kinds of food. If you were not physically active during this time and were not sleeping well due to your addictive habits, your unhealthy physical condition was probably exacerbated by this combination of lack of exercise and harmful eating and sleeping habits.
Exercising regularly has been proven to help you sleep better and give you more energy to get through your day. The more active you are, the more you are able to sustain your strength and the more you are able to rest recuperatively at the end of the day.
In addition, there are five surprising benefits of exercise that you may not have been aware of as you work on your addiction recovery:
Improved Mental State
When you exercise on a regular basis, you are also building confidence in yourself. Your self-esteem increases as you work through your exercise routines, reaching even the smallest of goals in terms of how often you exercise or how much you are able to do each day. Each time you do an extra push up or lift an extra five pounds, you add a little more to your sense of self-confidence.
Structure and Focus in Your Daily Routine
Exercise that is enjoyable and rewarding will soon become a positive habit in your life. Rather than struggling to try to find ways to constructively spend your time and possibly succumbing to cravings or old habits, you will have established a positive and rewarding structure through your exercise routine. Your exercise routine will become your new structure and your new, positive focus as you work through your recovery.
Positive Social Interactions
Getting together with like-minded people who are also focused on improving their physical and mental health is a great way to develop more positive social interactions and support. Encouraging others – and receiving encouragement yourself – will become a new part of your daily routine as you participate more in exercise activities throughout your recovery. Your social interactions with others who are concerned about their physical health will replace the interactions you had – and perhaps the pressure you felt – when associating with other addicts on a daily basis.
Desire to Stay Healthy
Once you begin to see the benefits of exercise on your mind and body in recovery, you will be less likely to want to imbibe a substance that is not healthy for you. This concept applies as much to unhealthy foods as to drugs or alcohol. Typically, people who begin an exercise routine and who start to feel better tend to not want to ruin their progress by eating sugary snacks or fattening foods. Likewise, as you exercise in addition recovery you will be less likely to want to use drugs or alcohols that may impede your progress toward a healthy mind and body.
Increased Ability to Control Addiction Impulses
Physiologically, exercise helps you control your impulses toward cravings or addictions through the release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. That feeling of happiness and euphoria you searched for through your addiction to drugs or alcohol can be fulfilled naturally through physical exercise. These neurotransmitters play an important part in regulating your mood. Serotonin also helps improve your appetite and sleep patterns, which, in turn, helps you to stay on track with eating and resting in a manner that is more conducive to successful recovery.
Let’s Talk About a Holistic Approach to Your Addiction Recovery
At Makana Path, we understand the importance of physical exercise to recovery. Our intensive healing program includes physical exercise with a certified personal trainer. To learn more about our intensive healing program, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-905-4550.