Addiction recovery is certainly a worthwhile journey, but is can be a long and difficult one. Anything that can help an addict through the process is valuable. One activity that can help a recovering addict in a number of ways is exercise. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, and can have tremendous benefits for a person’s mind, body and spirit.
Exercise Helps to Manage Stress
One of the most important functions that exercise serves is to relieve stress. Daily life is full of stressors, and life can often be even more stressful for a person after finishing rehab. They are often still dealing with the consequences of their life of using, and now no longer have drugs or alcohol to use as a coping mechanism. Exercise can help a person in recovery deal with that stress, which can be a key factor in helping to prevent a relapse. Relapse tends to occur when stress levels exceed a person’s ability to cope with it. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that “exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”
Exercise Improves Mood
Exercise also has the ability to dramatically improve a person’s mood and overall state of mind. It can help to deal with depression and anxiety which are both common in recovery. According to HelpGuide.org, “People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.”
There is a lot more to exercise than just trying to put on muscle or lose weight. Exercising regularly has a wide range of potential benefits, and is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle that will also help to promote sobriety. It’s a positive and proactive way for a person to stay busy and active and keep their mind off of drugs or alcohol. If a person experiences a particularly stressful event, they can use exercise as a way of managing that stress.
Succeeding in Recovery
Getting clean is only the first step, but it is an absolutely crucial step that will likely save a person’s life. The most effective and reliable way for a person to begin their journey of sobriety is to attend an inpatient rehabilitation program. They can provide the medical supervision and support to deal with the initial detoxification process safely and more comfortably. From there, patients can work with counselors, therapists, and support groups and attend classes to help them address the underlying reasons that led them to begin using in the first place, and learn skills for a successful life.
The real work often begins after a person gets clean and completes a rehab program. Then they must return to the stresses of daily life and try to live a healthy and happy life free from substances. Exercise is one many activities a person can engage in to help ensure they stay clean and to be successful in recovery and life. Other keys for success include continuing with an aftercare program, maintaining a strong support network, being active in a recovery community, continuing to work with a therapist or counselor, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining an overall active and healthy lifestyle.