Around 75% of people who suffer from addiction find treatment and live a full life. If you or someone you love is battling addiction, there is time to make changes and find a better path. A fulfilling life shouldn’t be muted with drugs and alcohol when healthy coping mechanisms are available. The benefits of working out are well-researched and often used in successful recoveries. Although it takes a combination of strategies to overcome addiction, exercise is an effective method to achieve and maintain sobriety. Learn about how being active can help addiction recovery.
Exercise Stimulates Certain Areas of the Brain
One of the biggest reasons people exercise during addiction recovery is that it works with parts of the brain that signal reward. Exercise and physical activity are proper stand-ins for addictive substances. People feel rewarded after working out, and certain parts of the brain are stimulated. Since exercise triggers similar areas of the brain, people can find relief during a difficult recovery time.
Create a Routine
Many people battling an addiction lose their routines and healthy habits during challenging times. Staying active can help the mind and body get back into a routine. Going to the gym on the same days and at the same time allows people to hold themselves accountable and follow a pattern. Walking or playing sports with friends are great ways to stay active, gain social support, and beat addiction. The importance of exercise goes far beyond physical benefits. A routine helps people feel more capable of taking on the day, even when withdrawal symptoms peak.
Reduce the Need for Substances
Some people use substances to deal with mental and physical pain. Exercise can boost your mood and make substances unnecessary. Routinely working out can also help build physical strength, which may eliminate pain and discomfort from an injury, reducing the need and use of painkillers.
Working out helps reduce a person’s pain perception and stress. With less stress and tension, patients can focus on their path to recovery instead of looking for an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Working out can be an escape, similar to watching a movie or reading a book. You must focus on the present moment for workout routines rather than the addiction. Working out also builds self-esteem, which is empowering and helps people believe in themselves and understand their capabilities.
Staying Fit Can Reduce Risk of Relapse
Adding an exercise routine to your day can help prevent relapsing since it can create similar sensations. By keeping the mind and body busy and starting a habit, your body can break out of addiction easier. Replacing addiction with activity releases hormones impacting the reward, pain, and happiness receptors. As patients stick with a routine, they aren’t as likely to relapse because they can feel and see their progress. Remaining sedentary during recovery increases the risk of relapse since emotions don’t have a release.
Activity Can Be Therapeutic
Physical activity can be therapeutic. Exercises like yoga and pilates can help soothe the mind and body. People struggling with addiction can benefit from these physical exercises and accompanying meditation. Calming exercises relieve tension and improve breathing.
Movement Will Rewire the Brain
Each time you do or think about something, your brain makes connections. Addiction is a difficult battle since substances heavily impact the reward and pain receptors. They trick the body into thinking a person feels good despite declining health. Increasing coping skills and physical activity can help rewire the brain and make new connections.
Small rewards, like seeing your evolving body or getting a treat each week, can be just as motivating as substances. People can form new habits by routinely working out, replacing the old connections they had. Neurofeedback therapy can help you understand how patients can rewire their brains. Harnessing the brain’s potential will make each obstacle more manageable in your recovery.
Battle Addiction Recovery with Exercise
Anyone going down the path to addiction recovery can benefit from getting active. Physical activity, like walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, or yoga, helps people move beyond harmful habits and build a stronger mind and body. All addiction patients can benefit from physical therapy since it rewires the brain and signals the reward center. If you need support on your journey, we have numerous resources available. Comprehensive Wellness Centers provide extensive care centered on results and recovery. Learn more about our admissions process and schedule a visit to tour our facility!