Addiction is a trial for the individual struggling with it, as well as their family and friends. Few people fully realize the complexity of recovery and how it impacts almost every part of one’s life. To better provide loved ones with the care and support they need to succeed day by day, a patient’s support network can join in on and encourage many helpful activities. Sometimes, simply encouraging movement as a change helps more than we think. Unsurprisingly, the benefits of exercise for addiction recovery are many and well documented.
Understanding Addiction Recovery
No two patients’ stories are alike, and neither are the ways they will have to discover to stay sober and safe. It’s a complex issue that many people struggle with on different levels for their entire life. As such, learning an array of coping tools is key to avoiding a relapse.
Whether they’re working with an inpatient or outpatient facility, there are still many universal tools that patients learn and use. For example, the benefits of exercise for addiction recovery are numerous, and it’s an activity everyone can share in and encourage.
It’s no secret that exercise is great stress relief. How many times have we seen characters in films and media burn off steam with a few laps, a boxing routine, or pounding miles on a treadmill? It’s an amazing way we can expel pent-up frustration and anxiety; from there, you can channel that energy into something useful.
Pushing yourself to work out, especially when you’re in a sour mood, is a great way to snag quiet time and focus on your health. Regular exercise also generally improves moods and allows you to feel your best.
Exercise does more than just get us into shape. Our brains are naturally stimulated by exercise, as well. By trying out new outdoor activities, we can push our minds to learn and be busied by new activities. Furthermore, chemical releases happen in our brain during exercise—especially a hefty workout—that contribute to our moods.
Besides getting the adrenaline pumping and experiencing healthy enjoyment, exercise also moderates our energy levels. By pushing ourselves with workouts, we can make ourselves tired enough to improve other mood-altering facets, such as diet and sleep.
Anyone who remembers the trials of mandatory gym class is probably still familiar with how consuming the activity is. While exercising, most people don’t think about anything else. A steady jog, laps in a pool, or even bike riding require a degree of coordination and concentration. It’s at least a little more challenging to be distracted by impulses and invasive thoughts while trying not to trip, get a mouthful of water, or crash.
In other words, blocking out specific times for exercising allows you to tackle downtime that might otherwise be full of unneeded stress. Going on an impromptu walk is the perfect way to calm down and step away from the pressures of usual surroundings.