Did you know that exercise and fitness can help someone cope with alcohol and drug addiction? Exercising regularly and staying fit can help improve mood, increase energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and boost self-confidence. All of these things are important when coping with addiction. Whether you want to start your fitness journey or support a loved one struggling with addiction, read on to learn more about how regular exercise help addiction recovery.
1. Stress Relief
One of the most common reasons people turn to drugs and alcohol is because they’re trying to cope with stress. Drug use can cause a sense of euphoria, but that feeling only lasts for a short time. When it wears off, users feel worse than before. This leads to repeated drug use just to escape reality, hence making the body dependent on the chemicals in order to chase that high.
Movement and daily exercise replicate the same euphoric feeling by releasing endorphins: chemicals in the brain that block pain and make you feel happy. Thus providing a healthier coping mechanism for the ones trying to quit an addiction.
2. Physical Activity Prevents Drug Relapse
Exercise provides a natural high that is more sustainable and healthier than drugs. This helps break the cycle of addiction because people experiencing a relapse do not have access to their usual self-destructive coping mechanisms anymore. If an addict lacks healthy coping mechanisms, going back to their old habits could be inevitable.
Regular exercise can help people break free from the bondage of addiction by providing an alternative source of pleasure that does not involve addictive substances or activities. Moreover, as vaping and headaches are often related, exercising can help alleviate them.
3. Helps Battling Depression
Exercising outdoors exposes individuals to natural elements that they would not otherwise be exposed to in their everyday lives—like fresh air and sunlight—which have been proven to boost moods and increase vitamin D levels which reduces feelings of depression.
Moreover, Exercise can provide an outlet for pent-up energy and frustration, reducing the temptation to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with any negative emotion that might arise.
Exercise results in the release of endorphins which are also known as “feel-good hormones.” Endorphins increase positive emotions and decrease the risk of depression.
4. Provides Structure and Improves Quality Of Life
The commitment to regular exercise also provides recovering addicts with the necessary structure, routine, and consistency they need in their lives, which is often very different from their chaotic past.
Exercise increases energy levels and promotes better sleep quality, which are two very important factors for people trying to recover from any addiction or mental illness. The more you sleep at night, the more rested you will feel throughout the day, which will prevent lethargic feelings that may lead to relapses.
The healthy lifestyle choices that come from exercise and other physical activities have many long-term benefits for those in recovery from drug abuse and alcoholism.
5. Promotes Strength and Endurance
Regular exercise promotes strength and endurance but also boosts self-confidence and improves physical appearance, which makes it easier for recovering addicts to stay away from drugs.
Setting up small fitness goals and achieving them every day creates a sense of accomplishment in the recovering addicts, which motivates them to work toward long-term goals like recovering from substance abuse.
Exercise provides another perspective on life, something that recovering addicts can enjoy while sober—which makes it easier for them to stay clean without feeling restricted or deprived anymore.
6. Improved Social Connections
Most people often feel lonely on their journey to sobriety as they had to give up the relationships that enabled them to start in the first place. But engaging in physical activity such as going to a park for a run, joining a sports team, or hitting the gym can introduce you to people with healthier habits.
Therefore, exercise can be a social activity, providing opportunities for meeting new people and building supportive relationships which can help recovering addicts stay on track. Moreover, working out with a bunch of people makes the experience more enjoyable, motivates you to stick to your goals, and keeps you accountable, all while giving you new friends.
A regular workout routine boosts confidence levels, helps addicts become more social, increases energy levels, promotes better sleep quality, decreases stress and anxiety levels, and improves overall moods. So if you’re serious about quitting drugs, consider adding exercise and fitness to your list of tools for success.
While there are many benefits to being physically active, it is important to note that fitness should not be used as a replacement for professional help when dealing with addiction. Instead, it can be used as an addition to a professional treatment from a drug recovery center.