How Does Regular Exercise Help Those with Addictions?

Addiction is a treatable condition. However, around 60 percent of those seeking help for a SUD (substance use disorder) will use alcohol or drugs again within one year. So scientists continuously study effective and new methods of preventing relapse. There is proof that exercise may be a powerful recovery tool.

Exercise Benefits

Specialists believe consistent physical activity may be a healthy substitution for addictive substances. That is because exercise and misused drugs work on similar brain areas. They both activate reward pathways, triggering the release of dopamine and serotonin (feel-good chemicals).

More research is necessary to know precisely how exercise impacts addiction. However, current research shows it:

Eases Symptoms of Withdrawal

Consistent exercise may reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. The following list includes common symptoms you may experience while in recovery that may cause you to relapse.

Curbs Cravings

It is possible to get a strong urge to use alcohol and/or drugs while trying to avoid them. Exercise may distract you from those cravings or make the cravings less powerful.

Replaces Triggers

A fresh exercise regimen may build your social network or give you something to do. It may help to avoid things, places, or people that remind you of alcohol and/or drugs.

Helps You to Think More Clearly

Routine physical activity may help your mind to work better. That is, your chances of relapse may be reduced once your thought­s are clearer.

Improves Your Sleep

If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, it is common to experience insomnia once you attempt to avoid alcohol or drugs. Consistent exercise may help you fall asleep more quickly and get better quality sleep at night.

Boosts Your Self-Control and Self-Esteem

It is easier to manage stressful situations once you feel good about yourself.

What Exercises Can Help?

Studies show resistance training and aerobic exercise may help with recovery from addiction. However, currently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to state that one type of physical exercise is better than another. Future research should help to learn more.

Cardio (aerobic) exercises get the heart rate up for an extended time period. These include:

  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Light gardening
  • Hiking
  • Boxing
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Walking

Resistance-training (strength-training) exercises work the muscles. Some examples are:

  • Heavy gardening, like digging
  • Lunges or squats
  • Sit-ups or push-ups
  • Weightlifting
  • Some types of yoga

How Much To Exercise

Specialists do not know what “dose” is more helpful. Until more is known, it is possible to aim for the exact same amount of physical exercise as everyone else. That involves a minimum of 75 minutes of intense exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. It is recommended to add strength training two times a week.

You may want to break up those sessions into 30-minute blocks daily, 5 times per week. And it is alright to start slow! Research shows that only five minutes of exercise may protect against cravings.

You should inform your doctor if you begin to exercise in an unhealthy manner. An overabundance of physical activity may increase your chances of social problems, depression, anxiety, and injury.

Establish an exercise regimen early in your substance abuse treatment. If unsure where you should start, speak with your substance use counselor or doctor about how you can get active. Also, you may reach out to recovery groups that are in your area. They may have an exercise plan to join. As a matter of fact, Pacific Bay Recovery treatment center in San Diego offers gym access to its patients.

Gain Gym Access At Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery’s gym is a part of its protocol for holistic treatment. Our gym is open to all of our patients, in order for them to add it to their treatment plan. When you blend the gym with other types of treatment protocols, you’ll discover that it is a lot easier to navigate through your recovery. It’ll be one more tool in the toolbox that assists you in unlocking your potential and overcoming your addiction.

Pacific Bay Recovery’s gym has a staff of caring individuals who are specialists in both recovery and physical fitness. They understand how to use gymnasium exercises to promote healing and recovery and will assist you while moving closer to your goals. Our staff is also available to help you learn any new exercises, in order for you to be at ease in a gym setting. They’ll give you the tools needed to succeed. Then, you’ll just have to use them!

Get in touch with Pacific Bay Recovery to learn more information about alcohol and drug treatment. Our intake counselor will be on-hand to answer any questions you have concerning recovery and gym access.

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