Exercise has all kinds of benefits for the body and the mind. There’s a reason most medical experts recommend two and a half to five hours a week. However, you may be wondering if exercise in recovery could make that big of a difference? There are many critical reasons your addiction recovery plan should include getting that body moving. To learn the truth about exercise and addiction, contact Bayview Recovery today at 855.478.3650.
Establishing Healthy Routine
The mind thrives on routine. These habits give the mind something to look forward to in the future. Dedicating some time every day to exercise can give you that routine, whether you’re working out to a YouTube video or heading to the gym.
At the same time, when you’re in addiction recovery, you may find yourself with a significant amount of extra time since you’re no longer hanging out with certain people, in certain places, or zoning out with substances.
Taking time to be in the moment is a crucial mindfulness skill. However, too much time with nothing to do can be dangerous in recovery.
The mind wanders, and relapse can occur.
Establishing a routine of exercise in recovery can help you manage this time constructively for a better outcome.
Connecting with Others
Exercise is a great time to spend quality time with a family member or friend who is supportive of your recovery. Whether you decide to take dance class, yoga, spin, Pilates, or CrossFit, you can also meet new people who focus on living healthier lives.
Will you meet people who use substances in these settings? Of course, you will. However, that’s where choosing your friends comes in, and applying the skills you learned in rehab is critical.
Reducing Cravings & Withdrawal Symptoms
Exercise also stimulates the part of the brain that gets damaged by addiction, but in a good way. As a result, practicing exercise in recovery can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms by acting as a partial substitute for many drugs. It may also help prevent relapse, as a couple of well-conducted studies have demonstrated.
One showed that a daily swim routine reduced the dependency of addicted rats on morphine. Another expert did a similar study with running and cocaine and got the same general results. The exercising rodents experienced fewer signs of addiction and used less of the drugs when they were permitted to self-administer the drug at-will.
Similar results occur when people exercise in recovery.
Getting Physically Healthy
During active addiction, you consumed toxic substances. Toxins don’t just enter the body and leave it. They do damage to cells and whole organs along the way.
Physical activity increases blood flow throughout the brain and body. Better blood flow gets nutrients where they are needed. This flow allows the body to start repairing itself at a cellular level. It detoxifies and optimizes all of the functions in the body.
Improving the Mood and Mental Health
Exercise increases the endorphins produced by the brain. Endorphins not only improve your mood quickly, so you feel better even if you’re experiencing acute symptoms of anxiety or depression. They also help the brain re-wire itself for healthier habits and thinking patterns.
Are the Positive Effects of Exercise in Recovery Enough?
The positive effects of exercise in recovery are certainly not a replacement for addiction treatment. But maintaining an exercise routine during addiction recovery can help you get healthy faster. It can also allow you to better manage your new life without substances to prevent relapse. Exercise and nutrition can be used in combination with treatment methods like:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- 12-Step programs
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Aftercare program to maintain sobriety
If you’re worried about relapse in recovery or considering getting professional help for your addiction, make sure exercise is an integral part of the program. To learn more about how Bayview Recovery uses exercise to support recovery, give us a call at 855.478.3650.