Studies show that exercise has a direct connection to decreased use of alcohol and drugs and exercise. That’s why so many treatment plans include physical exercise as part of an the recovery and healing process. Why?
- Research indicates that exercise releases endorphins, a natural substance found in the human pituitary gland that produces feelings of well-being. Since many individuals with an addiction are endorphin-deficient and take drugs to fill in where endorphins are missing, exercise can be a crucial key to recovery and a replacement for the missing endorphins. Endorphins also mitigate stress, which is particularly helpful to those in recovery.
- Aerobic exercise oxygenates the cells, which is important for the recovering individual. More oxygen to brain cells means clearer thinking and perhaps better decisions in the long run. Aerobic exercise is the kind that elevates the heart rate. Swimming, dancing and biking are all good for an aerobic work-out. A regular surfing session or a run on the beach could be just the thing for someone seeking recovery.
Recovering addicts and alcoholics do well with structure in their lives. Adding regular exercise is one way to develop structure. It’s also a way to bring order to a once chaotic lifestyle.
Many people suffering from an addiction have been so engrossed in their addiction, that health and fitness were a low priority, if at all. Just like anyone that hasn’t had their tennis shoes on in a while, recovery patients in with a medical doctor about the efficacy of any exercise plan. A word of caution: exercise has been known to be addictive, in large part because of the increased endorphin production. So keep an eye on exercise regimen, making sure it’s practical, fulfilling and beneficial to recovery.