As any physician or addiction specialist will tell you, physical fitness is one of the most effective and therapeutic ways to help overcome an addiction. Exercise can help you break out of an addiction cycle, whether it be an addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, pornography, internet, social media, shopping, or any other commonly abused lifestyle habit or pattern. In the article below we’ll walk you through 9 different ways that exercise and physical fitness can get you on the path to living a more healthy lifestyle that is addiction free.
9 Ways That Fitness Can Help With Addiction Recovery
1. Structure – Addicts of all kinds often fall into very routine daily cycles that revolve around feeding their addiction. Setting a new daily routine can help to break up a person’s daily schedule and offer a chance to escape from addictive impulses. Regular daily exercise is a great way to break up the monotony of the day. A great tip is to exercise during the time you would normally indulge in an addictive habit.
2. Endorphin Release – Many people fall victim to addictions due to attempting to self-medicate away a physical, mental, or emotional pain. Addictions, however, only mask the problem that addicts are running from, never allowing them to address the problem head-on in a healthy resolving way. Exercise is well known to force the body to release happy hormones, known as endorphins which can leave a person feeling great without needing to elevate themselves through indulging in an addiction.
3. Exercise Heals – Years of addiction cycles can damage your body and brain, especially if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. There is no better way to heal your body than through rigorous exercise. Exercise increases blow flow, stimulates healthy hormone levels, and builds a healthy immune system.
4. You’re Never Bored or Idle – Exercising daily can take up a lot of a person’s free time. Addiction experts warn that an idle or bored mind is much more susceptible to falling into addictive patterns. With exercise being a major part of your daily and weekly routine, you can be assured that you will simply not have the time to indulge in addictive impulses.
5. Sedentary Lifestyles Lead to Depression – It is a medically proven fact that people who live sedentary lifestyles are far more prone to suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Addicts typically are very sedentary, especially drug and alcohol addicts. With exercise, your body will be filled with tons of happy hormones and other biochemicals needed to keep your mind and spirit content and happy.
6. Attain a Healthy Sleep Routine – Addicts are often plagued with sleep problems. Drugs and alcohol inhibit REM sleep cycles, leaving addicts always feeling tired. Exercise can help you regain your natural and healthy sleep routine, as it stimulates the production of neurochemicals responsible for healthy sleep, particularly serotonin. Without regular exercise, your body will simply not be able to produce an adequate volume of neurochemicals needed to maintain a healthy sleep pattern.
7. Developing a Fresh Perspective – Nothing helps more in overcoming an addiction than a fresh perspective. With regular exercise, you will be feeling physically wonderful in no time. With a happy and well-balanced mood, you will have all the strength and courage you need to face your addiction and soundly conquer it.
8. Setting Goals – Regular exercise routines and overcoming addiction have one healthy thing in common. They both require the setting of goals to stay on point. Regular exercise, in fact, can help you get into a lifestyle pattern that is more goal-oriented, something you can apply to overcome an addiction, especially an addiction that is hard to break.
9. Exercise Sets a New Standard of Wellness – You would be hard pressed to find an addict that feels great all the time. In most cases, they feel awful. Once, however, you’re fresh into a 2-month exercise regimen, you’ll start feeling absolutely wonderful compared to how you felt while addicted and sedentary. With that fresh and wonderful exercise-induced feeling in your mind, you won’t want to return to the awful feelings of the past. Exercise in a way, makes you feel great while fueling a craving to want to continue feeling that same way.
To learn more about drug and alcohol addiction including treatment options, please visit The Recovery Village.