Regular exercise isn’t just a good habit – it can make or break the long-term success of a drug rehab program. Although clinical treatment lasts just one to three months, staying sober takes lifelong efforts. Addressing the mental and emotional components of addiction is crucial, but a fit body is also an effective defense against relapse. A dedicated workout routine is therefore one of the best ways for addicts to relieve stress, deal with cravings, and boost their immune systems. In order to stay sober long after drug rehab, patients need to understand the benefits of exercise for addiction recovery.
Powerful Stress Relief
Addicts and non-addicts alike find vigorous physical activity to be one of the best ways to relieve stress. People who regularly work out are not only healthier than those who do not – they are usually happier. Instead of turning to alcohol, opiates, or other depressants, rehab patients can use intense exercise to blow off steam and stay in good spirits.
Despite the physical effort required, exercise does not usually make people tired. In fact, most people report feeling more energetic after a workout than before. High energy levels are crucial for dealing with cravings and maintaining other daily recovery activities, so addicts should be diligent in their exercise habits.
Setting Goals and Building Confidence
The long-term success of drug rehab relies heavily on patients’ confidence levels. Addicts must believe in themselves and their abilities to fight cravings and endure the painful symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.
Certain types of workouts are excellent for building this confidence. Addicts who constantly improve their strength, speed, endurance, and other physical qualities reinforce their abilities to tackle mental and emotional problems, as well.
Filling the Gap
Addicts spend a great deal of time acquiring and using drugs during active use. Once they get clean, they need productive ways to spend that extra time. Daily exercise is a healthy way for addicts to fill this gap once they complete drug rehab.
Mitigating Drug Cravings
Vigorous physical activity is not only a good way to relieve stress – it can directly and immediately suppress drug cravings. Exercise causes the brain to release dopamine, the same chemical responsible for the euphoric effects of drugs. Harder workouts generally lead to greater dopamine releases. In fact, fitness enthusiasts have even reported feeling “high” after their most taxing training sessions.
When addicts experience cravings, their bodies are seeking these dopamine releases from drugs. By achieving similar effects through exercise, they can suppress these urges without relapsing. However, they should be careful not to develop new addictions to working out. Moderation is key for people who have exhibited addictive behavior patterns.
Daily Self-Reflection and Meditation
Walking, easy biking, and other leisurely forms of exercise can be highly conducive to deep thought. Addicts can use these types of workouts to not only maintain physical health – but to engage in critical self-reflection and meditation, as well. Parks, tracks, and bike paths can be fantastic places for rehab patients to examine their thought patterns and guard against the negative emotions which lead them to use drugs in the first place.
Whether you are struggling to stay sober or have not yet sought treatment, there is still hope. Call the number at the top of your screen now to talk to one of our dedicated addiction specialists. We are available day and night to get you started on a proven drug rehab program and help you take back control of your life.