Benefits of Physical Movement and Substance Abuse Treatment
Just as there are many different types of addiction, so there are many different types of addiction treatment. You, your loved ones, and family members may be looking for the right treatment and don’t know where to start. However, the good news is, if you’re looking for substance abuse programs in OC, you’re spoiled for choice.
Now, when you’re coping with drug addiction, physical exercise can be enormously beneficial, even if it’s the very last thing you feel like doing. By exercising for as little as thirty minutes daily, you can improve your physical, emotional, and mental health in ways you might not immediately think about.
What is the connection between exercise, addiction, and recovery, then? How could lifting some weights or playing a couple of sets of tennis help you to stay clean and sober? Well, in the simplest sense, your body is adjusting to being substance-free. Whether it was alcohol abuse or substance abuse that led you to seek addiction treatment, your body will be recalibrating and becoming accustomed to sober living.
Many people recovering from addiction to drink or drugs make the mistake of believing all it takes is a quick detox to solve the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Recovery is a process and in many cases a lifelong journey. Detox is vital, but it’s only the first step on the path of sober living. You can expect to feel worse before you feel better, with your energy levels out of kilter, your sleeping patterns disrupted, and your mood all over the place.
It’s here that exercise can play a crucial role in your recovery, as we’ll be outlining today with a comprehensive list of benefits you could reap from exercising regularly as part of your addiction recovery treatment.
10 Benefits of Exercising During Drug Addiction
- Improves mood
- Helps to prevent some diseases
- Reduces stress levels
- Enhanced energy levels
- Better quality of sleep
- Can reduce drug-seeking behaviors
- Safeguard the brain against damage from drugs
- Helps you to fill time while providing a valuable structure to life
- Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism and can also help with withdrawal symptoms
- Provides a good opportunity to meet people in a healthy, sober environment
1) Improves mood
When you’re going through detox for a drink or drug addiction, you can expect to experience frequent mood changes, particularly during the early phase of recovery. One moment, you might be feeling incredibly positive and filled with excitement and confidence about what lies ahead. The next moment, seemingly from nowhere, you experience a crushing low with all-enveloping feelings of hopelessness.
While unsettling and often uncomfortable, these changes in your mood and feelings are a normal part of recovery. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to fight back, though. On the contrary, harnessing the power of exercise is proven to boost mood.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These so-called feel-good chemicals are linked to feelings of happiness and euphoria. These feelings are the intended effects most drug users seek out. Sustained alcohol or substance abuse perpetuates a cycle where your brain is bombarded with artificially triggered neurotransmitters like dopamine and endorphins. In the absence of a chemical crutch, exercise can deliver similar benefits to substances.
Now, you don’t need to run a marathon to achieve these effects, either. Exercising for just thirty minutes a day is enough to bring about positive changes in mood.
When you engage with addiction treatment for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you’ll be guided by specialists who can help you formulate coping strategies for the stress, flagging energy levels, impaired sleep, and fluctuating moods that characterize withdrawal from drink or drugs.
If you choose a treatment center like The District Recovery Community, you can harness the power of exercise as a coping skill much healthier than using substances. This is something you can then continue benefiting from throughout your recovery.
2) Helps to prevent some diseases
Exercise is scientifically proven to help protect you against a battery of disease, including:
- Heart disease
- Some type of cancer
When you’re in the throes of active addiction, your long-term health is likely not uppermost on your mind. As you start to recover, though, you should begin to feel more positive about the future. You won’t be able to enjoy that future as much if you’re in poor health, though.
A large part of recovering from addiction involves rebuilding your body as well as restructuring your mind. If you’ve been abusing drink or drugs for a long time, you may have triggered a variety of health issues. The good news is, most of this damage can be undone.
Why not get things off to the strongest possible start by incorporating some exercise into your daily routine?
3) Reduces stress levels
Many people start using drink or drugs as a coping mechanism for blotting out life’s stressors. This approach is flawed, though. It simply allows you to temporarily forget your problems without doing anything to actually solve them. Indeed, substance abuse can even inflame the underlying issues. At treatment facilities, popular ways to cope with stress or anxieties from recovery are in fact, exercising.
Another problem occurs when drinking and drug use descend into dependence and addiction. Once you’ve crossed this line, you won’t even achieve the same stress-relieving effects from drinking or using drugs. You’ll be taking substances onboard just to feel normal. The likely outcome is consuming more alcohol or drugs in a vicious cycle that only ends with recovery.
Things can get even worse with the substance abuse itself becoming a direct cause of stress, both for you and your loved ones.
Unfortunately, addiction treatment will not remove stressors from your life. This is something you’ll have to navigate on an ongoing basis, just like when you were sober before your addiction. Becoming stressed is almost inevitable from time to time. How you deal with it is what counts.
Luckily, just about any physical movement or activity that raises your heart rate is ideal for reducing stress levels naturally. Regular exercise is effective not only in the short-term but also over your ongoing recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs.
4) Enhanced energy levels
When you exercise, your blood is pushed more briskly through your heart. Resultantly, oxygen levels throughout your body increase.
If you continue to exercise regularly and meaningfully as you push forward with your recovery from addiction, you’ll find this uptick in oxygen levels leads to improved overall energy.
Regular exercise brings with it another benefit. As you become fitter and stronger, you’ll need less energy to perform simple daily tasks. You’ll get your work done more efficiently and with less effort. Who wouldn’t want that?
You can compound these benefits by exercising early in the morning. In this way, the energy you expend will be returned with interest as fuel for the day ahead.
5) Better quality of sleep
In the early stages of recovery, disrupted sleep patterns are commonplace. It doesn’t matter here whether you’ve been abusing alcohol, stimulants, or depressants. Any form of substance abuse is likely to impact your sleep when you discontinue use.
Problems can snowball when you find it hard to fall asleep, and just as hard to stay asleep. When this happens, you’re likely to crash during the day and sleep, worsening the issue and stopping you from sleeping that night. As a result of sleep deprivation, you’ll feel sluggish, fatigued, and mentally fuzzy.
By exercising regularly, you’ll improve both the quantity and the quality of your sleep. You should also stop needing to sleep during the afternoon. As your sleep improves, so will your alertness during the day, leaving you better placed to deal with the demands of addiction recovery on top of everyday life.
After exercising, your body starts to cool down more rapidly than usual. Body temperature is at its very lowest when you’re sleeping, so the accelerated cooling post-exercise lets you reach this stage quicker than normal.
Research indicates that the effects of improving your sleep can take weeks, sometimes even months, before becoming apparent. Stick with your efforts and don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel energized overnight. Catching up on lost sleep takes time, so why not shortcut the process with exercise?
6) Can reduce drug-seeking behaviors
Exercise can reduce drug-seeking behavior, according to NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Studies show that teens who exercise regularly are less likely to smoke cigarettes, and also less likely to use marijuana than inactive peers.
Animal studies also suggest that exercise can reduce the desire to self-administer drugs.
7) Safeguard the brain against damage from drugs
If you abuse alcohol long-term, you can cause permanent damage to the white matter in your brain. This area of the brain is composed of connections between brain cells.
Studies show that aerobic exercise on a regular basis – cycling, swimming or running, for instance – helps protect your brain’s white matter from damage.
Exercise has also been shown to protect rats from the toxic effects of binging on methamphetamine. When rats in a study were given access to an exercise wheel, the damage caused by the loss of dopamine transporters in the brain was significantly reduced. It’s obvious that exercise the optimal choice to cope with any addiction ranging from alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and the withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Many treatment centers offer treatment plans centered above physical movement. For example, The District Recovery Community offers all-inclusive treatment plans that pair with exercise, meditation, and other spiritual activities.
8) Helps you to fill time while providing a valuable structure to life
As you surge ahead with your recovery treatment for substance use disorder, it’s valuable to stay busy, particularly in the early stages.
If you think of any life involving substance abuse, there doesn’t tend to be much structure. As you leave drink or drugs behind, it’s a good idea to fill that void with worthwhile activities, exercise is one of them.
Whether you go to the gym a few times a week, exercise at home, or play sports, you’ll be filling your time rather than moping around, craving drink or drugs, and risking relapse.
9) Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism and can also help with withdrawal symptoms
Exercising can help to soothe stress, and it also makes a great way of actively dealing with stress. Pounding a punching bag or lifting some heavyweights when you feel tense is a great way to destress that doesn’t involve using substances. As an added kicker, you’ll wake up the next day feeling better than hungover from alcohol abuse.
Did you know that exercise can also help with some of the withdrawal symptoms you experience during detox? Depression and lowered mood are common symptoms that can be addressed by exercising and flooding your brain with natural feel-good chemicals.
10) Provides a good opportunity to meet people in a healthy, sober environment
After rehab, returning to the friends you used to drink or use drugs with is often reckless.
There is no across-the-board requirement to end all friendships when you start recovering from addiction. What counts is scything away all toxic relationships to minimize the chance of temptation, cravings, and relapse.
When you’re just feeling your feet with the recovery process, though, you might find it challenging to meet new friends. Joining a gym, a sports club, or a team provides you with instant access to like-minded people engaged in a healthy activity.
Team sports can deliver some healthy competition along with the camaraderie that comes with playing sports together
Addiction Treatment Incorporating Exercise Therapy at TDRC
If you’re ready to leave drink and drugs behind you, we’re here to help you every step of the way at The District Recovery Community.
We will personalize an addiction treatment program for your alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder. You can benefit from medication-assisted treatment if required, and you’ll have access to a range of behavioral and talk therapies.
In addition, we offer experiential and adventure therapy here at TDRC.
We offer many treatments ranging from outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), family therapy, group therapy, motivational interviewing (MIT), and other various treatment approaches. Addiction recovery isn’t only for folks past 45 but young adults as well. Whatever your background, story, or situation, the staff at Renaissace is ready to help.
Talk to a representative today to find out more details about our treatment services, treatment options, and how you can kickstart the path to addiction recovery today. There are many addiction treatment providers in Orange County but none are to par with the compassionate clinicians and staff we have at Renaissance.
Call our friendly team of experts. Dial at our addiction helpline at 844.287.8506. We are ready to help you pave the path to healing and walk you through the whole recovery process.