Addiction recovery isn’t something you go through for a little while, it’s a lifetime commitment. Learn how to use physical fitness to make recovery part of your long-term plan and make sure it’s successful. Sobriety and exercise go hand-in-hand.
The Natural High
Exercise creates a natural high. Your brain produces chemicals that flood you with positive feelings when you engage in physical activity, a sort of natural reward system, according to the Chicago Tribune. Scientists have studied the positive effects that running has on the brain and on overall emotional well-being and their research shows that physical exercise creates a natural high of good feelings. Substitute the high of drugs and alcohol with the natural high of exercise. This is much healthier for you and a good way to replace those happy feelings that drugs and alcohol create.
Exercising the Itch Away
Working out can help you avoid the stress and triggers in life that cause cravings – that horrible itch that comes with wanting to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. Exercising stimulates the production of chemicals in the brain that can lessen stress and cravings for drugs and alcohol, according to Greatist.com. Regular exercise can give you a regular boost of endorphins that help you release stress, diminish those cravings and stay on the sober path.
Recovery and Healthy Sleep
It’s common for recovering addicts to struggle with insomnia and disturbed sleep. Getting a good amount of high-quality sleep is extremely important to maintaining overall physical and emotional health. Exercise helps with that and regular exercise helps to regulate sleep patterns, making it easier to fall asleep at night, which is exactly what recovering addicts need to stay healthy and maintain sobriety.
The Best Exercises for Addicts in Recovery
Recovering addicts who don’t know where to begin with an exercise routine can start with running. This is a great cardio exercise for the heart. Running builds strength and stamina and it can be done socially or alone. Pick routes that avoid bars, nightclubs and other potential triggers. Running is a good way to burn calories and get a burst of energy, and you don’t need any special equipment beyond loose clothing and good running shoes to do it.
Yoga is also very effective for addicts in recovery. Not only does yoga help tone muscles and improve flexibility, it also increases focus and concentration. Yoga exercises release stress, which is a trigger that makes former substance abusers want to use. Deep breathing and stretching improves physical and emotional health, and that’s a big step toward staying sober. Learning how to practice yoga can help you learn how to stay centered and stay focused on what’s important, rather than focusing on negative feelings and cravings that might make you want to abuse substances.
Maintain a Long-Term Exercise Routine
According to the National Institutes of Health, making lasting lifestyle changes is a good way to work toward maintaining long-term recovery from substance abuse. Design an exercise routine to stay sober and stay on the path to recovery. Make exercise part of your overall routine for better health and focus on staying healthy. If you keep your goals aimed at good health, both emotional and physical, you’ll always have a reason to avoid drugs and alcohol.