6 Benefits of Exercise for Sobriety
When you use drugs and alcohol in excess, your body and mind are both impacted. Addiction changes your body chemistry. Once substances are removed, you may be left feeling anxious, depressed and sensitive to some of life’s major stressors.
The good news is that physical activity can help shift the tide on those negative emotions and bring you some positive results. Whether you are new in addiction recovery or have been away from harmful substances for many years, there are several proven benefits to getting regular exercise.
6 Ways Exercise Can Benefit Sobriety
1. Stress Reduction
Stress can be a particular problem in addiction recovery and can lead to relapse if not properly managed. One of the ways that you can reduce and control stress is through exercise. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins in the brain and improves circulation, both of which help with stress.
2. Better Sleep
Having problems with sleep is not uncommon in recovery. In fact, many people begin using alcohol or drugs believing that these substances would help them get the rest they needed. Regular exercise can improve both your quality and quantity of sleep.
According to SMART Recovery, “As the body and mind continue to return to a more normal state, many people in recovery find exercise also helps restore a normal sleep schedule.”
3. Improved Mood
Mood changes can be associated with addiction recovery, and you can help your body adjust to its new circumstances by teaching it to naturally produce those feel-good chemicals that were sought artificially in drugs. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, providing feelings of happiness and well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, just 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough to affect a positive change in mood.
4. Increased Energy
You may be expending plenty of energy when you run, swim, or ride a bicycle, but you will also receive energy in exchange for your efforts. If recovery has left you feeling tired and lethargic at times, regular exercise is one of the ways that you can put some spring back in your step.
5. Stronger Immune System
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health reports that getting regular exercise helps protect your body from certain serious conditions such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, depression, diabetes and osteoporosis.
6. Prevent Relapse
Perhaps the greatest incentive to get regular exercise in addiction recovery is that regular movement can help prevent a return to alcohol or drug use. A collection of studies suggest that regular exercise can increase the abstinence rate for substance use by 95 percent. These studies also found that exercise can help manage stress, depression and anxiety, which can all contribute to substance use.
While it cannot be the sole treatment, there are studies that suggest regular exercise is a potential treatment for drug abuse. Exercise, when combined with other proven forms of addiction treatment, has been shown to produce protective effects in addiction recovery tied to the neurobiological and behavioral outcomes of physical activity.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, make sure to contact you nearest recovery center.