Many people in recovery will struggle with feeling the effects of their addiction for months or even years after stopping using substances and might need to rely on exercise for specific situations that could trigger a relapse. It is said that exercise is the best medicine because it makes us feel better in both body and mind. Regard exercising as a way to help you recover from addiction and improve your mental health and overall well-being click here. Below are five main ways in which exercise helps people recover from addiction.
1. Releasing endorphins to reduce stress and anxiety
The biggest misconception about exercise for people in recovery is that it only benefits the body. Sure, it is beneficial to have overall good health, but emotional benefits can be just as significant. Exercise helps release endorphins – also known as ‘happy hormones – in the brain. These neurotransmitters help reduce stress and anxiety, which many people in early recovery struggle with during recovery. This relief is one of the most important ways that exercise can help long-term recovery, especially when paired with therapy.
2. Releasing negative emotions
A recovering addict will likely be in some form of therapy for their entire life to maintain long-term sobriety. Endorphins are also known to reduce cravings and lower blood pressure; addicts tend to struggle with both during recovery. Exercise can be a coping skill for someone forced to take their recovery more seriously than they ever have before and can help them heal emotionally without turning to substances or behaviors that might jeopardize their sobriety. Physical exercise gives the mind focus on positive things, which boosts the mood of the individual.
3. Separating them from destructive behavior
Some people in early recovery still feel stuck in an addiction cycle, despite not wanting anything to do with substances anymore. These people tend to turn to behaviors that can cause self-harm because they can no longer use alcohol or other drugs as a coping mechanism. These can be destructive habits that cause further problems for someone who is already struggling emotionally. Physical activity releases the same endorphins as cravings do, which can make it easier for someone in early recovery to separate themselves from destructive behaviors that might be holding them back. Exercise increases self-efficacy, social support, and coping skills in addicts who are in recovery.
4. Providing rest
Another benefit of recovery exercise is that it helps the recovering addicts get much-needed relaxation during abstinence. This enables those in recovery to get the sleep they need each night without the adverse side effects of insomnia or other health detriments caused by drug use. Regular exercise provides both quality and quantity of sleep, which is needed in recovery. Exercise provides a feeling of happiness and wellbeing, which affects a positive change in mood.
5. Controlling weight gain
The final way that exercises benefits people in long-term recovery is that it helps control weight gain caused by addiction. People addicted to substances often turn to food for comfort when they are stressed or upset, which can lead to weight gain. When someone is trying to recover from their addiction while still dealing with the emotions that led them to abuse substances initially, this extra weight can make it even harder for them to cope. Exercise helps people stay fit and lose excess weight without turning back to food as a coping mechanism.
Everyone going through long-term recovery needs to find a way to cope with their emotions that don’t involve turning to drugs or alcohol. Exercise has been proven to be a practical coping skill for anyone who doesn’t want to relapse and is a great way for addicts to maintain long-term sobriety.