Using Exercise for Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Keeping a fit and healthy body after alcohol addiction treatment is crucial for people who struggle with drinking problems. Clinical alcohol addiction treatment helps addicts make lasting lifestyle changes, but they must maintain sobriety through a variety of long-term personal efforts. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways for alcoholics to clear their minds, stave off drug cravings, and mitigate the effects of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Here are five ways exercise can help alcoholics stay sober after alcohol addiction treatment.

1. Meditation

Certain forms of exercise can be extremely relaxing and even meditative. This is especially true for endurance activities such as jogging, biking, and long sessions on cardio equipment at gyms. Though some people find these routines boring, others enjoy taking an hour to do something which is physically repetitive and relatively mindless. This type of exercise can give recovering alcoholics great opportunities to reflect, meditate, and even pray.

2. Multi-Tasking

Addiction recovery can be especially problematic for people who have families, careers, and other personal obligations which take up a great deal of their time. Fortunately, endurance exercise can give these people a chance to combine several of their daily recovery efforts into a short time-frame. Recovering alcoholics can easily practice their self-reflection exercises on the treadmill or in the park while they exercise. They might also exercise with their accountability partners and have meaningful conversations while improving their fitness.

3. Setting Tangible Goals

Weight lifting, sprinting, and other high-intensity exercise routines provide recovering alcoholics with fantastic opportunities for goal-setting and personal improvement. Alcohol addiction treatment can be extremely difficult, and patients often become discouraged as they continue to experience cravings during post acute withdrawal. Consistently getting stronger or faster can provide these people with an immense boost in confidence – an improvement which carries over into their mental and emotional states.

4. Blowing Off Steam

Everybody deals with daily stressors, but alcoholics must be particularly vigilant in managing their negative emotions. Stress is often what causes people to develop their addictions in the first place, and it can easily lead alcoholics to drink again. Fortunately, people can use vigorous physical activity as a healthy outlet for their frustrations. Hard lifting sessions and long runs can do wonders for alcoholics’ moods and can make the difference between relaxation and stress-induced relapse.

5. Natural Dopamine

Dopamine is the feel-good chemical responsible for the addictive properties of drugs and alcohol. People’s brains release this neurotransmitter when they drink, triggering strong feelings of euphoria, lowered inhibitions, and general ease. However, these feelings can also be achieved through exercise.

Though the effects are not as extreme, hard physical activity causes the body to release dopamine, as well. Addicts and non-addicts alike often report feeling fantastic just minutes after even the most grueling workouts. Alcoholics who struggle with temptations to drink can thus use exercise as a way to directly mitigate their cravings. Still, they should be careful not to develop other bad habits – exercise addiction is a danger in and of itself.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drinking problem, call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free, no-obligation consultation right now. Our dedicated addiction specialists are standing by twenty-four hours per day to help you take the first steps on the road to recovery. Let us create a customized alcohol addiction treatment program that will allow you to enjoy the life you deserve – and it can all start right now.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More