Drug Addiction Recovery and Physical Fitness

Staying physically fit is one of the most crucial parts of drug addiction treatment and recovery. Mental and emotional coping strategies are essential, but a healthy body is the first line of defense against inevitable stress and cravings. Unfortunately, most people know little about proper nutrition or exercise. Understanding this critical element of recovery is essential for a lifetime of sobriety.

While some non-addicts may be able to get away with poor diets or sedentary lifestyles, drug rehab patients must vigilantly practice a variety of healthy habits. Even addicts who don’t have problems with their weight or cholesterol levels must still prioritize fitness in their daily lives. The following are the three most important aspects of physical fitness for recovering addicts.

Staying Healthy with Nutrition

A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients is essential for preventing disease. Deficiency in any particular nutrient puts people at risk for a variety of ailments, and getting sick can severely compromise addicts’ recovery efforts. In order to stay healthy enough to fight drug cravings, rehab patients should eat a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should also take multivitamins, calcium tablets, iron pills, and whatever other supplements are necessary to acquire the nutrients they don’t get from food.

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A properly-managed intake of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and overall calories is also important. The typical Western diet is full of starch, sugar, and processed foods – a combination which causes rapid weight gain and wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels. To maintain the stable energy levels necessary for avoiding stress-induced cravings, recovering addicts should eat a diet rich in whole grains, fiber, lean protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Using Exercise for Stress Relief

Vigorous physical activity is one of the best ways to relieve stress. In fact, exercise causes the body to release dopamine – the same chemical responsible for the euphoria-inducing effects of most drugs. Instead of using opiates, alcohol, or other addictive substances, addicts can take out their frustrations and ease their worries with a consistent workout regimen.

Training with a specific goal in mind can also give recovering addicts a boost in confidence and willpower. Constantly getting stronger, faster, leaner, or more muscular is one of the best ways for people to assure themselves of their abilities to accomplish other goals. Rehab patients who make progress in physical endeavors can thus ensure their success at controlling their emotions and avoiding cravings.

Consistent Sleep and Mental Clarity

Sleep is the most overlooked aspect of good health among addicts and non-addicts alike. Today’s fast-paced society tends to undervalue a good night’s rest, but consistent sleep is essential for rehab patients to control their drug cravings.

In fact, medical professionals have found that sleep deprivation puts the brain in a state similar to drunkenness. People who don’t get quality rest can easily lose touch with reality and are known to be irritable, overly emotional, and unable to deal with stress. While some people’s life situations may allow for such conditions, recovering addicts must remain calm, alert, and positive as much as possible. They cannot get away with losing sleep to an active nightlife, and they must actively address any chronic sleeping troubles they encounter.

If you or someone close to you is suffering from a drug addiction or you’ve recently relapsed as a result of poor exercise or stress management, we can help. Call the number at the top of your screen now for a free, confidential consultation. We can provide the guidance you need regardless of where you are or what time it so. The rest of your life can begin right now, but you have to do just one thing – call us. We’re here for you.

About James F. Davis

James F. Davis, CAS, is a Board Certified Interventionist and the founder of Recovery First. Inc. Davis is also an expert on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) - the leading cause of relapse among addicts and alcoholics. Mr. Davis operates a website dedicated to sufferers of Post Acute Withdrawal, and has published the first-ever survey on the condition. Davis is also the author of two upcoming books on the topics of PAWS and Adult Children of Alcoholics. You can contact Mr. Davis directly via his Google+ Page, via the Facebook page for Recovery First, or by writing to editor@recoveryfirst.org

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