5 Ways to Use Exercise to Help Facilitate Recovery from Alcohol and Substance Abuse


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5 Ways to Use Exercise to Help Facilitate Recovery from Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Finding the motivation to exercise is difficult under the best of circumstance. However, if you are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse it can be a powerful tool on the path to recovery. Not only that, exercise can help motivate you to adopt a completely new and healthy lifestyle.

1. Reduce Stress and Cravings

Aerobic exercise has proven to be addiction survivors’ best tool. The Huffington Post notes that exercise releases dopamine, which can be a productive way to reduce stress. Since many addicts turn to substance abuse as a form of relief, breaking a sweat is the perfect alternative to fill this void during rehab.

In fact, many studies have proven that exercise can reduce cravings and prevent a relapse. As patients begin to get in shape, they tend to experience a boost in confidence that then encourages them to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

2. Make it Fun

Working out does not have to be a chore. If the idea of running multiple miles everyday sounds awful to you, that’s OK. There are many other options for you to choose from. From swimming to tennis, you can find the right exercise for you.

Be careful not to overexert yourself either, you do not want to get injured. If you are new to exercise or just getting back into it, ease into the process. Start by taking 30-minute walks around the block or pick up some light weights. In the beginning, the most important thing is that you are moving.

Eventually, you will want to build a well-rounded workout routine. According to the American Heart Association, this means a combination of aerobic and strength exercises throughout the week. Aim to hit the gym at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

3. Commit to a Schedule

Going to the gym five times a week is not an easy feat. To make the habit last, it is a smart build a schedule and force yourself to stick to it. Building a routine can also help addicts by setting their expectations for the day and providing them with a sense of control.

Take it a step further by prioritizing sleep. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night can reduce stress and increase focus. This will lessen the urge to fall back on unhealthy habits. Try setting an alarm for when you should be going to bed as well as when you need to wake up.

4. Eat Better, Feel Better

Naturally, when you work out on a regular basis you begin to feel a need to become fully healthy. According to Healthline, a balanced diet consists of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eating a balanced diet will help control your weight, give you more energy and improve your mood. It is significantly easier to avoid turning to alcohol and substances when you feel good physically and emotionally.

5. Fight Anxiety and Depression

Many people use exercise as a means to fight anxiety and depression, however, it is not the only way. You will not always be able to make it to the gym or maybe it’s an off day, but that does not mean you let the stresses of the day take over your life when you can’t workout.

Meditation and breathing exercise are excellent methods to keeping yourself calm throughout the week. In fact, just 10 minutes of meditation a day can improve focus, relax the body and help manage your emotions. Through this, you can also learn about your stress triggers. This will let you avoid them when possible and better cope when you cannot. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Do not neglect to take care of it the same way you do your body.

Using exercise as a vehicle for recovery has been a proven supplement to rehab time and time again. Working out will improve your mental and physical health. It’s just the beginning of your journey to becoming truly healthy.

Thanks to guest blogger, Susan Treadway, for this article.

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