7 Benefits of Being Active While in Recovery

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Seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at a rehab facility will include therapy and activities to heal your mind, body, and soul. Supplemental treatments, such as physical activity, have been shown to help those in recovery. Exercise provides a plethora of benefits to everyone, not just those recovering from addiction. The best part about exercise is that there are many options so you can find the work out that is right for you, whether you like running, going to the gym, lifting weights, or going for a hike. Exercise helps those in recovery to maintain their sobriety and stay healthy. In addition to building physical strength and improving health, there are many other benefits. Below we have listed seven benefits of exercise for those in recovery.

  1. Healing Your Body and Brain. Exercise helps your body get stronger and improves overall health and well-being. Regular exercise can lower the risks for some cancers, boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, and help reduce the risk for diabetes. Staying active can also help heal the brain for those in recovery. Exercise can generate new nerve connections in the brain, which may have been damaged from drug or alcohol abuse. These new connections help heal the mind from the effects of substance abuse.
  2. Stimulating the Reward System in the Brain. The reward center of your brain is stimulated by dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. These chemicals are produced through when working out. They bind to the brain’s receptor cells and tell the brain that something positive has happened, activating the reward system in your brain. People in recovery that can feel a boost in mood and happiness without substance abuse are more likely to find success in sobriety.
  3. Distract from Cravings. Exercise can provide those in recovery with a distraction from cravings for a substance. If they are feeling cravings, they can work out to distract their brains and feel the many benefits of physical activity.
  4. Improve Sleep Quality. Regular physical activity improves mood and body health, which can both lead to more quality sleep. Research has shown that working out increases the amount of deep sleep. When you are able to get a full night of deep sleep, your brain and body have a chance to rest and help you feel refreshed in the morning. Healthy sleep patterns will help those in recovery to stay on track.
  5. Aids Digestion. Physical activity helps reduce heartburn, constipation, gas, and stomach cramps. The digestive tract is strengthened with regular exercise. Food is more easily digested with increased blood flow to the muscles and digestive tract. Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet and staying active will aid digestion and make you feel better overall.
  6. Structure. Working out on a regular basis can provide structure to your days. Going to the gym, running, or walking at specific times of the day can you a routine to follow. Routine helps those in recovery. When there is structure in their day, they are less likely to find idle time that may lead them on a path to relapse.
  7. Mood Booster. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. As discussed above, it activates the reward center in the brain and communicates to your brain that something good has happened. Working out is a natural mood booster. It can also increase mood if you choose to get your daily activity by going outside. Exposure to sunlight and outdoor activities can provide the benefits of physical activity and improve your overall mood. Lessened symptoms of depression and an improved mood can help those in recovery. Feeling positive and happy will decrease the likelihood of relapse.

To learn more about Exercise in Recovery, click here. Archstone Behavioral Health is a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Palm Beaches, Florida. Our full continuum of care provides treatment for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our facility starts with detox and continues to help you in recovery with our aftercare and alumni programs. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call Archstone Behavioral Health at 561.631.9478 to get help now!