Are you a recovering addict, looking for ways to keep yourself on the path of sobriety?
If so, one of the best things you can do as a recovering addict is to exercise.
Yes – whether you were once an avid gym rat or you haven’t run a mile in years, exercise can be extremely beneficial to those in the throes of addiction.
During addiction, your body takes a pretty hard beating. Exercise is one of the best ways to not only recover your body from that beating, but to also help yourself stay focused on your recovery.
Read on to learn about the top five benefits of exercising during addiction recovery.
1. Reduce Stress
As someone who has gone through addiction, you probably have a lot of stress built up in your body, both physically and psychologically.
Exercise can be one of the best ways to let go of this stress. This is because during exercise, your body releases certain chemicals that help improve your circulation. Once your circulation is improved, it is much easier for your body to relieve stress.
2. Improve Your Mood
Whether you are spending time in a long-term treatment center or are back in society, you will likely experience many mood changes on your road to recovery.
Sometimes, you’ll feel very proud and happy with how far you’ve made it in your recovery process. Other times, you may feel alone, depressed, and scared about the prospect of living the rest of your life substance-free.
While these feelings are totally normal, it is still good to do what you can to keep them under control.
Not controlling these emotions may lead to negative consequences, such as dropping out of or not attending a treatment program. (You can get more information here about how few people actually receive treatment).
Exercise is one of the best ways to keep these emotions under control, due to the fact that doing exercises releases feel-good chemicals into your body.
3. Get Better Sleep
One of the hardest things about recovering from addiction is that it can negatively affect your sleeping habits.
In fact, many people often used substances with the belief that they would help them sleep better at night. But, now that the substances are out of the picture, you need something else that will help you fall asleep.
This is where exercise comes in. Exercise helps to regulate your body’s temperature. Once your body’s temperature becomes regulated, it makes it much easier for you to sleep soundly.
4. Improve Your Outlook on Life
An often overlooked benefit of exercise for addicts is that it will improve your outlook on life.
Making exercise a part of your routine will give you something to look forward to each day, as well as something to strive for.
While you do not need to turn exercising into a stressful competition, it can be very beneficial to set small goals for yourself along the way. For example, you could say “I want to be able to run a 5K in 3 months, 10K in 6 months, and a half-marathon in a years time.”
Focusing on these goals will give you purpose, and reaching them will give you a feeling of accomplishment and pride.
5. Prevent Relapse
Last but not least, we have what is perhaps the greatest incentive to start exercising: relapse prevention.
One study looked at sobriety outcomes in post-rehab patients. They found that 69 percent of patients who exercised daily during rehab stayed sober for 90 days, while 62 percent who did not get exercise did not stayed sober.
You can now use these top 5 benefits to stay motivated during your recovery process. If you have any questions about these tips, drop a comment below.
Has exercise helped you or a loved one during addiction recovery?
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