An exercise therapy program is led by exercise therapists who focus their attention on helping their clients regain normal physical functioning after they go through drug or alcohol detox. Recovering addicts need to get physically fit, so an exercise therapy program is usually included in an addiction program.
Unlike traditional therapists that work on psychological components of stress, exercise therapists focus on the physical experience. As such, you will typically find these therapists working in clinics, hospitals, physical therapists’ offices, etc., as part of a larger team of specialists. They may even work with a physical therapist for someone who has been in a car accident and needs to learn to walk with crutches or relearn how to walk if their injuries were severe enough.
An exercise therapist’s primary goal is to assist patients in having increased independence, improved sensory function, enhanced mobility, and reduced pain, leading to overall enhanced quality of life. This is achieved by an exercise program that implements rigorous, repetitive physical activities. At the same time, the therapist monitors their progress and adapts the program of recovery as needed to produce ideal results.
Exercise therapy employs a specific, intensive program of physical activities that help restore musculoskeletal functioning or reduce pain from an injury or disease processes; this includes multiple sclerosis or traumatic brain injury. Exercise therapy is based on principles having to do with exercise science and neuroplasticity, meaning the brain can change and create new pathways. This form of exercise seeks to restore functionality both above and below the injury site through neuro re-education and therapeutic movement.
What this means for someone in drug or alcohol addiction recovery is highly tied to the effects of the addiction upon someone physically. If a drug has caused effects that have damaged a person’s body, exercise therapy can help restore its function. Following an injury or damage to the neural pathway, the functionality of bodily systems is decreased. Nevertheless, the brain has the potential to reorganize itself and create new neural pathways to compensate for and adapt to any loss of function. This happens through repetitive and rigorous stimulation to the brain, which can be intense and highly-individualized to the person.
Exercise physiology or therapy as the study, assessment, and improvement of the human condition, including biochemical movement, is defined by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists. (ASEP) To be an exercise therapist, you have more training than a personal trainer.
The therapist develops a program that enables a person to regain their function and implements it into their recovery program. What that looks like is different for each person and can be daily or several times a week. If the injury or trauma happened due to abuse, trauma work would also be included in the therapy program for optimal results. Exercise therapists can customize the therapy to work for different physiological systems and various mental states associated with it, such as anxiety and depression.
An exercise therapist can do much to help someone going through addiction recovery, such as:
Exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel good about yourself and your future. A recovery treatment center that combines physical activity with mental and emotional therapy offers the best chances of reaching the goal of healing and recovery.