How Physical Fitness Can Help You Recover From an Addiction by Constance Ray

Substance abuse affects millions of Americans, and the effects of addiction contributes to issues with relationships, jobs, and personal health. With so many people suffering on a daily basis and battling the physical, emotional, and mental effects that come with it, it’s no wonder more and more people are looking for different ways to facilitate recovery.

One such way is to create a fitness routine that works for you. It can be hard to dedicate time to a workout everyday, especially if you are focused on finding full-time employment or have been battling depression, which leaves many people in physical pain. However, exercise can be a huge boost for your self-esteem as well as both your physical and mental health. Not only will it help your body feel better as you start to recover, it can also aid in elevating your mood and can even help you learn to manage stress, triggers, and cravings more effectively.

Here are some great tips on fitness and the benefits in recovery.

Start slow

If you’ve never had a fitness routine before, or if it’s been a while, it’s important to start slow and build up. You don’t want to overload your system, since that can be dangerous physically and might keep you from being motivated in the future. Look for a few exercises that are low-impact, such as beginner’s yoga, swimming, or walking, and rotate them throughout the week so you won’t become bored.

Rebuild your metabolism

Repeated use of drugs and alcohol can have a serious effect on your metabolism and the way your body and brain function, so working out everyday can help you build up your strength in more ways than one. When combined with a balanced diet, a daily exercise routine can aid you in rebuilding healthy cells and getting your body back on track.

Give structure to your days

Many individuals who are in recovery find that it’s hard to get through the days without a substance when there’s no structure. Boredom, anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most popular reasons a person in recovery might have a relapse, so it’s important to make each day count. Exercise can help you structure your day by providing a concrete plan and giving you a reason to go bed at a certain time or get up early.

Reduce inflammation

Individuals who have abused drugs or alcohol for a long period of time may have an issue with inflammation throughout the body, which can have several negative side effects such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Daily exercise can help reduce inflammation and return your body to a much healthier state.

Increase those feel-good chemicals

Regular exercise has been linked to an increase in dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals produced by the brain that help you sleep better and provide motivation, pleasure, and relaxation. Releasing these chemicals can help you feel better both physically and mentally and can aid in keeping you motivated, as they occur in the “reward center” of the brain.

Staying fit has plenty of benefits, and for individuals who have battled addiction, it can be a life-changing way to get through recovery. Talk to your doctor about the best workouts for you, especially if you’ve had health issues in the past, and communicate with your loved ones about your goals and needs. With a good plan, you can start feeling better very soon.

Contributing author

Constance Ray

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