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Understanding How Exercise Impacts
Addiction Recovery

Addiction doesn't discriminate. It affects people of every age and income level, causing a lot of physical and emotional damage in the process.

The recovery process isn't the same for everyone. It depends a lot on the types of drugs that are being used, the length of time that the person has been dependent, and the severity of their addiction.

Additionally, there are a variety of different treatment options that patients can choose from when overcoming an addiction.

The picture that usually comes to mind when most people think about drug rehab is a patient lying in a bed detoxing in a hospital-like setting or a group of people sitting in a circle, talking about their addictions. While many treatment programs do rely on medical detox and group therapy, there are other options, as well.

One way to enhance the recovery process is through the use of physical exercise. Getting up and getting moving can be a good first step in fighting an addiction. A simple exercise program such as a walking program can also go a long way toward supporting other types of addiction recovery methods.

Exercise and Dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical that is found in the brain that is responsible for helping people feel happy. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol interfere with the balance of this chemical, causing it to get out of whack.

Exercise, however, can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. That is why exercise is often linked with an increase in happiness. The more that you exercise, the more dopamine is released, resulting in a better mood.

During the recovery process, exercise can be even more beneficial. Researchers have found that exercising when battling an addiction can help restore normal dopamine levels in the brain.

As an added bonus, exercise can also serve as a distraction for the addict, keeping them from focusing on their drug of choice.

Exercise is so effective for battling addiction, in fact, that many treatment centers incorporate it into their programs. Because exercise can help with the recovery process, it makes sense to make it a central part of any recovery effort.

The Best Exercises for Getting Over an Addiction

Different types of exercise can have a variety of different physical and mental effects...

The Restorative Nature of Yoga
Yoga is one of the most popular exercises used by recovery facilities, largely because it is so effective at helping to balance the body and the mind. Stretching and strengthening the muscles helps improve physical strength and flexibility. At the same time, it forces patients to focus their attention inward, paying attention to their bodies. This can help center their minds, creating a more peaceful, balanced outlook on life. Holding yoga poses often requires a great deal of strength, increasing dopamine levels in the brain as a result.

The Benefits of Walking In Nature
The simple act of going for a walk in nature can go a long way toward helping patients recover. Getting outdoors for a quick walk has been shown to improve the function of the brain by encouraging the growth of new brain cells. Many patients find it beneficial to go for a walk when they experience a craving. Within about 15 minutes, the craving usually will have subsided.

The Power of Weight Lifting
Oftentimes, people focus on cardiovascular exercises. However, most drug rehab centers recommend strength training definitely has a place when it comes to recovering from an addiction. For instance, lifting weights can help improve the quality of sleep that patients get by resetting their natural sleep cycle. Better sleep can result in a better mood and a healthier body, making it easier to fight an addiction.

The Joy of Playing Games With Others
Team sports are some of the best activities for recovering addicts. Not only do they provide a great workout but they also help build a sense of camaraderie with the other players. Best of all, these friendships don't center around doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Instead, they are focused on a fun, healthy activity that is good for your body and your mind.

Many treatment centers have additional exercise options available. For instance, some have climbing walls while others set up obstacle courses for their patients. When people have a chance to complete these types of challenging activities, it can make them more confident.

At the same time, the physical activity that is involved helps increase dopamine levels, resulting in a better outlook on life. When patients are able to overcome a challenging obstacle or complete a physical task that they thought was impossible, it can boost their self-esteem, giving them the confidence that they need to overcome any challenges that they may face later in life.

Exercise is an important part of any addiction recovery program. It not only helps the body but it also helps the mind. Developing an exercise program that you love can be a powerful tool in the fight against addiction.


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