Ways In Which Exercise And Recovery Go Hand In Hand

The process of recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is more of a journey than a process.  Each individual has their own journey to take, but there are a few tricks of the trade that are helpful no matter what addiction a person is battling.  

The impact of drugs and alcohol on the mind and body are irrefutable, and getting clean is a huge step towards a life of recovery.  Holistic treatment centers focus upon treatment for the mind, body, and soul of an addict.  The steps after an individual’s initial detoxification are just the beginning of the process of recovery.  

Life after rehab is the real test, and nutrition and exercise are the key to a successful journey.  Take a moment to read over a few ways in which exercise and recovery go hand in hand.

The natural high of physical activity

Years of substance abuse typically throws off the natural balance of “happy” chemicals (like dopamine) in the brain, and can leave recovering addicts in a state of depression early in their sobriety.  Exercise is one of the most effective ways to naturally boost the dopamine levels in the brain.  

Fitness activities such as running douse the brain in dopamine, giving the runner a euphoric sensation.  Some studies have shown that daily exercise in recovery can actually return the user’s dopamine levels to what they were prior to the abuse.  

Specific forms of exercise has been proven helpful

There are a few areas of physical activity that seem to have a more lasting effect on addicts.  

Yoga – Yoga is a staple of many rehabilitation centers, and the effects help us understand why.  Doing yoga loosens a person up, helping them to release unwanted stress and anxiety that can trigger relapse.

Hiking/Walking –  Breathing in the fresh air of the woods and nature’s own medicine is excellent for boosting dopamine levels.  A simple 15-minute trek through the woods can work wonders to stave off cravings.  

Strength training – Though cardio exercises often take precedence in talks of recovery, there is plenty to be said about the benefits of strength training.  Strength training is a great treatment for insomnia.  The strenuous activity can assist in resetting the body’s natural sleep cycle.

Nutrition is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle

Though eating healthy is probably low on an addict’s list of priorities, a healthy diet will make the process of recovery much easier on the body.  Proper nutrition and adequate hydration are key components of the body’s natural healing process.  Nutritional deficiencies can lead to imbalances in the brain and depression.  Recovery is not the place for depression.  

Exercise offers an outlet

The most obvious benefit of physical exercise is the opportunity for release.  Anger, pain, anxiety, and frustration can all quickly be rectified by a 30-minute session with a punching bag or a run around the block.  All those emotions are fueled by negative energy, and exercise is the most natural way to disperse it all.