Exercise has been shown by many studies to be beneficial to your health, but this is especially true if you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Even if you have never been involved in an “exercise program” before, starting some type of exercise can be extremely beneficial in your rehabilitation journey.
If the idea of “exercise” makes you think of sweating in an aerobics class or running outside, keep in mind that there are many different ways you can get exercise. It could be as simple as taking a daily walk or playing ping-pong with your kids, or it could be joining a local gym or attending a boot-camp-style program in your area. It could even be running or attending an aerobics class if you would like that.
The Health Benefits
Drugs and alcohol are harmful to your body, and most people who fall into a cycle of drug or alcohol abuse find that they neglect to take care of themselves in other areas. Not only does this cause physical damage and lead to a body that has more difficulty overcoming illness and participating in daily activities, it also has a psychological impact on your health. Regular exercise has been shown to provide:
- Weight loss
- Improved muscle strength
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Improved circulation
The Stress-Reducing Benefits
Many people who discover that they have a drug or alcohol addiction find that they did not begin just because they wanted to. For many it starts as a way to reduce tension and “take the edge off” of stress before it evolves into something that causes even more stress. Exercise has therapeutic benefits that include a release of endorphins that make you feel happy (the same thing that used to make you feel good when you used drugs or alcohol), which can help reduce stress and calm you down. Plus by undergoing physical exertion and releasing emotional energy, you can avoid looking for other negative ways to release those things.
The Routine Benefits
Another benefit of exercise is its ability to replace bad habits with healthier ones. For many people drug or alcohol use is simply part of their routine, and when they decide to quit, the time they have that used to be consumed with drug or alcohol use can feel empty. The more healthy routines you can create to fill that time, the less likely you will be thinking about resorting to your drug or alcohol addiction.
The Connection Benefits
Exercise is also something you can do with friends and family, which means it can be a way to build a support group. Plus people have been shown to be more likely to participate in exercise routines when they do them with someone else, so whether it’s a friend from your neighborhood, church group, or even from your support group, find someone who enjoys the same activities as you and will help you stay committed to exercising.
When you combing drug and alcohol rehabilitation with exercise, the results can be long lasting and amazing. Find an addiction recovery program that incorporates exercise and discover for yourself the benefits.