Recovery from addiction is never an easy path, but it’s one that can be made easier by having a complete mind-body approach to well-being. Exercise has shown to have great effects on the body’s overall health, and incorporating other alternative coping methods, such as meditation and yoga, along with exercise, can be an integral part of your road to addiction recovery.
There have been multiple studies showing that exercise helps with preventing and treating addiction. CNN reports in one animal study, laboratory rats that had exercise wheels were less likely to self-administer cocaine than the rats who did not have wheels in their cages. Other studies have provided similar results, such as:
- Humans have an innate dependency on habits and routines. Substance use can become an unhealthy routine, but physical fitness can replace the unhealthy habit with a healthy one and fulfill our desire for routine.
- Not only is regular exercise good for those in addiction recovery but it has physiological benefits that help prevent relapse. Exercise increases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that makes us feel good. The “natural high” from exercise helps combat these feelings and reduces stress and anxiety.
- The satisfaction of doing something that is healthy for you and succeeding at a physical challenge can give you a boost of confidence.
How can you start incorporating exercise into your everyday life? The most important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy. It’s important to know that different activities will have different benefits.
- Endurance activities like running and swimming combine the physiological benefits of aerobic exercise with the meditative effects of repetitive motion. In fact, runners can have an increased sense of being in control, clearer thinking, and higher self-esteem. Endurance exercise can also help you take a “one day at a time” approach to both activity and recovery. With both running and swimming you have to take it day by day to increase your capabilities to eventually reach your goal. This is the same for addiction recovery, day by day, mile by mile, lap by lap is how you manage reaching your goal.
- Team sports can be a great idea for those in recovery. They combine physical fitness along with a social aspect that can help provide accountability and support of not only your physical wellness but also your emotional and mental wellness goals.
- A lot of individuals in addiction recovery benefit greatly from yoga. Yoga promotes both physical strength and mental well-being. Yoga can get your heart rate going, and it can also help you practice mindfulness, which can help individuals relieve stress and prevent a relapse.
All of the benefits of aerobic activity, strength, endurance, and meditation are equal parts of a holistic mind-body approach to well-being and recovery. The most important thing is to find something that is enjoyable and stick with it for the long term. Exercise during addiction recovery can help you move forward stronger than ever and help you prevent relapse.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact Full Circle Recovery to find out how we can help you in your addiction recovery journey. 951-737-6199