How Exercise Can Help You Beat an Addiction


It is common knowledge that exercise is good for you, but finding the time and motivation to work out can be challenging. It is tough for those suffering from addiction though, as physical activity can often take a back end to get high. But what if daily exercise could give you a normal high similar to the chemical one that drugs and alcohol provide?

Most of the treatments for addiction involve some ‘talk therapy’ or counseling. It often focuses on helping the person with the addiction determine why they continue to engage in addictive behaviors despite adverse consequences. Therapy also helps people establish more effective ways of managing feelings that help fuel addictive behaviors.

Over years, exercise has been known as a self-help tool among people recovering from addiction to support recovery. But only recently, exercise has been known as a treatment for addiction in its own right.

When a person wants to overcome addiction, the mind and the body crave for a substance that develops endorphins in the brain and creates a high feeling. Moreover, when you add stress to your daily life, you can observe that the craving can reach unbearable levels. However, some powerful exercises release endorphins, which causes you to feel a runner’s high. Though it might not provide you the pleasure that you experience with drugs and alcohol, the effect can be both physically and mentally pleasurable. Some studies have suggested that people getting treatment for substance abuse in rehab centers like substance abuse treatment in Illinois resulted in that exercise can lead to a sense of accomplishment and boost confidence in staying sober.

Though it is common for people to get stressed and depressed when dealing with withdrawal, exercise can promote healthy and addiction-free life; let’s go through some of the benefits of exercise, which can help you with your addiction recovery.


Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery:

Like drugs, alcohol, or any other substance are often used as a means of self-medicating and an escape from reality. So, it becomes more critical for those in addiction recovery to develop some healthy coping mechanism. Exercise can be an effective tool for people dealing with recovery. Mentioned below are the benefits of exercise-

  • It improves sleep-

Regular exercise leads to improved sleep. When a person sleeps better and feels more rested, their overall quality of life improves. Lack of sleep or excessive sleep is a common problem found in people dealing with addiction. But exercise can help out to cope with sleep issues.

  • It makes you feel better-

Exercise is a powerful technique to release several chemicals in the brain that helps a person to feel better. Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are all released along with exercise and help achieve an overall sense of well-being.

  • It can heal the body-

Daily exercise improves cardiovascular health, which leads to a decreased risk of developing hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The practice encourages the immune system and has been known to help improve mental health and reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s later in life.

  • Exercise keeps you busy-

It is generally a good idea to keep yourself busy during addiction recovery, particularly in the initial stages. Daily exercise is an excellent way to carry yourself alive.

  • Exercise provides you a routine-

The life of an addicted person does not contain much routine. But with the help of regular exercise, they can develop a routine structure in their life. Moreover, the essential aspect of recovery is developing healthy habits and a proper routine.

  • Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism-

Exercise not only assists with your physical well-being, but it also aids you with your mental illness. In general, a person feels fresh and active after doing a workout in the gym; this also reduces everyday stress.

  • Exercise improves your self-confidence-

Another advantage of exercise is that it boosts the sense of self-confidence. When a person takes good care of their life, they usually feel better about themselves.

  • It is better to meet people in the sober environment-

During early recovery, it can be tough to meet new friends. But going to the gym or participating in any sport is an excellent way to meet people without drinking or abusing drugs.

Different Exercises That Provide Different Effects to Beat Addiction:

Similar to other addiction treatments, other exercises affect the mind and body distinctly. One activity might suit you better than another, so it is best to experiment with alternatives. You may find that a mixture of the below types of exercise is correct for you-

  • Walking or hiking-

It has been studied that some tremendous outdoor activities can increase the levels of dopamine during addiction treatment. And a brisk walk for 15 mins can help to avoid cravings when they occur.

  • Yoga-

Many of the rehab facilities include yoga as a part of recovery programs. Less intensive than some other forms of exercise, yoga sends you into a state of meditation, relieving stress and anxiety, which can target relapse.

  • Strength training-

Cardio exercises like running seem to get the most cheering, but lifting weights also help recovery. Weight training can help improve the body’s sleep cycle. It is beneficial to many in recovery who cope with insomnia.

  • Team sports-

Any sports played with some friends provides more than a good workout. The camaraderie and competition can aid long-term recovery, providing these individuals a way to merge back into society.