The Undeniable Importance of Exercise During Addiction Recovery

Everyone knows that exercise is crucial. Yet, few people base their lives on what they know. The World Health Organization has found that one in four adults do not exercise to the correct levels. 

There are many reasons why this is the case. People may know why exercise helps in general, but they don’t know the particulars. 

One particular you should be aware of is how exercise helps with addiction recovery. 

What are the various benefits of exercise in stopping potential abuse of drugs? What particular activities should a person perform? How can someone incorporate them into their week? 

Answer these questions, and you can train your body for a drug-free life. Here is your quick guide. 

How Exercise Can Prevent Relapse

Drug dependency relates to the brain. The brain has a network of cells and receptors that transmit chemicals and hormones. 

One critical hormone is dopamine. Dopamine is one of the body’s most critical pleasurable hormones. It encourages a person to pursue activities that produce it, including falling in love. 

Drugs encourage the brain to create, transmit, and receive large amounts of dopamine. In turn, it enables the person to use drugs more often; as the person uses more drugs, the brain’s ability to make dopamine changes. 

It produces smaller amounts of dopamine, requiring the individual to use more drugs. Then it stops creating dopamine from other activities, increasing dependency. 

But the brain can recover if a person stops using drugs and returns to pleasurable activities. One activity is exercise. 

Exercise helps the body produce numerous pleasure chemicals; over time, it can help the brain rewire itself.

A 2016 study examined the effects of exercise on people in treatment for methamphetamine abuse. It found that after just eight weeks of exercise, the dopamine receptors in their brains became more receptive. With a new source of dopamine, they were able to resist relapse. 

Other Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can help addiction recovery in other ways. As many people know, exercise helps create optimal health.

Drug use can cause cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Exercise helps a person lose weight, strengthens the heart, and improves the muscles. As a result, they can recover from the side effects of drug use faster. 

Exercise works best when a person schedules it. Therefore, creating a routine is key to the success of consistency. 

A schedule helps a person fill in the hours of their day. When they are active throughout the day, they are less likely to use drugs. They also practice self-discipline that keeps them from falling into old habits. 

Some people use drugs to help them sleep. Exercise makes a person tired, helping them fall asleep faster. It also creates long-lasting sleep, allowing a person to wake up feeling refreshed. 

Types of Exercise

Nearly all types of exercise help with addiction recovery. Being out in nature can help improve the mood and reduce stress.

Cardiovascular exercises include hiking, running, and swimming. It trains the heart and allows a person to be out in nature. 

Many people think that strength training involves lifting weights. But strength training also includes stretches. Lunges, planks, and squats improve muscle definition and focus. When a person has to maintain a pose while feeling muscle strain, they learn how to ignore temptations. 

Yoga therapy operates similarly. It improves muscle definition throughout the body, and it helps with focus and coordination. In addition, performing poses requires control over delicate muscles, bolstering a person’s confidence and attention. 

Meditation can have benefits, even if a person is just sitting down. Meditation is all about focus and removing oneself from the external environment. It can bolster stress reduction and help a person train their mind on their wellbeing. 

Incorporating Exercise Into Your Addiction Recovery Plan 

People not used to exercise can start slowly. They can go for a walk around their neighborhood or perform a few stretches in their living room. Performing too much exercise all of a sudden can be stressful. 

Exercise is a careful process. A person should start by warming up, performing some light stretches. 

They can then do their cardiovascular training. When one has completed their exercise, they should perform a cool-down exercise. A light stretch or a brief session of yoga is an excellent way to relax and release tension. 

Do not perform cardio and then lift weights. This will stress the heart and risk tearing the muscles. Instead, lift weights on a separate day, ideally, two days after you’ve performed cardio. 

Perform a few different cardio and weight-lifting exercises. For example, swim on Monday, then go for a hike on Thursday. This will keep your exercise routine exciting. 

Make sure to maintain other aspects of your health. You should keep a well-balanced diet with foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. In addition, you should drink water before, during, and after your exercise. 

Sleep at least seven hours every day. If you wake up feeling achy, adjust your exercise routine. 

This is not to say that exercise should replace anything in your mental health treatment plan. You should continue to take medication and pursue therapies, including talk therapy. But exercise can be an additional resource for you. 

Recover the Right Way 

Exercise is a boon for addiction recovery. It prevents relapse by providing the brain with a steady dose of pleasurable chemicals. As a result, the brain can eventually heal itself from drug use.

It can also help the heart and muscles recover. In addition, it can fill in odd hours of the day and help a person learn discipline. 

All types of exercise are helpful. Work them into your routine gradually. Rotate through a few different activities. Participate in a few therapies to live a drug-free life. New Leaf Detox and Treatment serves the San Juan Capistrano area. Contact us today.