Exploring the Role of Exercise in Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Speak with a Recovery Advocate by calling (719) 602-0914 now.

Updated 04/06/2023

A woman gracefully performs a handstand on a beach at sunset, showcasing her flexibility and strength

The term “mind, body, and spirit” is not something new and novel when talking about wellness and recovery. Many times in drug rehab programs, the focus is on brightening the spirit, clearing the mind of bad habits, and cleansing the body of harmful toxins.

The body aspect of recovery does not stop here. Exercise is one of the best treatment methods in the arsenal of drug rehabs as part of a holistic recovery program to make sure you have all the elements of a new, healthy life. While this might seem obvious, there are several reasons why exercise is important to someone in recovery from drugs and alcohol. It can be a major tool for success in living a healthy, sober lifestyle. 

Exercise has countless benefits for anyone and several that are particularly important to a recovering addict. Regular exercise can improve mental health and mood, which is a great supplement to therapy received in drug rehab centers. Exercise can also help regulate sleep and build/repair bones and muscles to help your body recover from the ravages of drugs and alcohol.

Ever heard of “runner’s high”? It is a feeling of euphoria that comes from repetitive exercises, such as marathon running. This same “high” feeling can come from a variety of intense and cardio-heavy workouts. For an addict, there could not be a better healthy alternative to the high that has been previously chased than through a vigorous workout. Plus, this high is a benefit to the body instead of a damaging poison like a drug or drink.

One of the many reasons exercise is a crucial part of drug rehab programs is that it helps your body get back to a normal and healthy rhythm. Studies have shown that a disruption in circadian rhythms, or an individual’s internal clock, can increase the drive to consume alcohol. When your internal clock is off, the body can have trouble with sleep or slowing down in the evening as well as with getting going during the day. Many addicts who abuse alcohol cite “feeling normal” or “helping to sleep” as a reason for drinking. Exercise is known to help regulate circadian rhythms.  By regulating a person’s internal clock naturally, the craving to use a substance to overcome an off-set clock dissipate.

A rubber mat with a built-in alarm clock

When finding a drug rehab center to meet individualized holistic needs, checking into the availability of an exercise program is just as important as any other therapies offered. Think of recovery as a full spectrum of services and not just counseling or detox or even meetings. While all of these components are important, the goal is to create a healthy, fulfilled lifestyle for the recovering addict.

Leaving physical exercise out would leave a gap in your total mind and body health. Check out our treatment options that include exercise as well as other complementary therapies. Contact us today!

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