Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery
We at Renaissance Ranch believe in a comprehensive approach to healing that promotes a well-rounded recovery from addiction. That is why as part of our men’s residential treatment program, we provide exercise facilities where our clients can hone exercise skills during the early stages of recovery. Here is a look at some of the many benefits that exercise has to offer during recovery from addiction.
Increase your resilience to stress.
Did you know that regular exercise can actually make you more resilient to stress? Studies have shows that people who regularly push themselves physically exhibit stronger mental stamina in other areas of life, such as quitting smoking or remaining calm when taking final exams. This is because exercise actually elicits physiological changes (e.g., lower blood pressure and reorganized brain activity) that make people more resilient not only to physical stress but also to emotional and cognitive stress. Building your resilience to stress is vital in recovery, as stress can be a major trigger for relapse. So ultimately, regular exercise can strengthen your ability to resist cravings and avoid relapse.
Achieve a “natural high.”
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins—the same endorphins, in fact, that are released when you abuse a substance for that euphoric effect. This makes exercise an excellent, wholesome substitute for drug or alcohol use, as it can fill the void that substance abuse may have left behind.
Those who exercise regularly report increased feelings of self-confidence and optimism, as well as decreased feelings of depression of anxiety. (It doesn’t hurt that exercise tends to improve your appearance as well, resulting in a stronger self image.) This benefit of exercise can prove vital at a time when confidence levels might be at an all-time low.
Exercise is a great way to practice self-care in recovery. Practicing self-care is highly important because addiction has a tendency to take priority over everyday things like hygiene and proper nutrition. Exercise can help get you back into the routine of caring for yourself, and over time you’ll likely cultivate increased love for yourself. Self-love can be a major strength in any recovery, and it could majorly motivate you to stay sober.
Replace old habits.
One major principle behind any successful recovery from addiction is that you need to replace old habits with wholesome, new ones. Regular exercise makes for an excellent addition to a new, wholesome routine, and it can help draw your focus away from your former lifestyle.