How Exercise Can Help With Your Addictions
Addiction and Treatment
Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease affecting millions of people in the UK alone — not to mention, the world. Not only does substance abuse inflict serious damage on a person’s physical health, but it also damages relationships, affects mental health, and puts you at risk for serious social consequences. If you believe you are addicted to drugs or alcohol (or both), seeking treatment as soon as possible is your best bet.
The quicker you deal with the problem, the easier it is to recover. Check out the Facts For a Better Life shop for the guides you need to live a better, healthier, and fuller life.
Recovering from addiction takes a multifaceted approach. You can’t just quit consuming your drug of choice and expect to get better. Addiction recovery requires counseling, lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, and sometimes medication. One of the most helpful things a person can do to help their recovery efforts is incorporating exercise into their daily routine.
How Exercise Helps Addiction
When you exercise, the brain releases a slew of helpful neurotransmitters including endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. The rush of dopamine through the body is the feeling you are chasing when you impulsively turn to drugs or alcohol. By getting your fix through exercises, you can cut down on cravings and reduce your chances of relapse.
Furthermore, exercising daily provides your life with much-needed structure. Routines are a huge help when it comes to staying sober. They help reduce anxiety and boredom by keeping you busy and distracted from the things that used to tempt you into using. Keeping a steady, healthy routine helps maintain mental health while facilitating recovery.
Tips for Establishing a Healthy Routine
● If you want to stick to exercising, you have to find the right workout that fits with your lifestyle and body. Try out different classes, machines, and activities to find the ones you’ll want to do again. Be sure to keep things balanced by combining cardio workouts with weight training. Also, try to fit in gentle activities including walking to help improve fitness even when you can’t make it to the gym for a sweat session.
● Try joining a gym, signing up for a fitness studio membership, or investing in fitness guides and equipment to keep yourself motivated. If you join a gym, make an introductory appointment with a trainer. A trainer can show you how to use machines safely and provide helpful routines you can use going forward. It’s also good to have someone spot your form and make corrections as a way to prevent injury.
● Sign up for a class you can fit into your schedule every week. If you aren’t one for yoga and Pilates, consider joining an intramural football or basketball league so you can reap the benefits of exercise at practice and games.
● Start slowly. If you can’t run a mile all at once, start with walking, work up to intervals, and only take on jogging when your body feels ready. Be patient with your progress-- these things take time!
● Invest in a fitness tracking device that reminds you to get moving if you’ve been sedentary for an extended amount of time. While a fitness tracker won’t help you lose weight by itself, they do help encourage physical activity while keeping us in tune with our body’s needs.
● Fitness apps are easy to use and affordable and can keep you motivated to continue your workouts. There are apps available for any type of exercise you’re interested in.
● If you choose to do most of your workouts at home, make sure that you have a supportive space to do exactly that. Moreover, a positive home environment can actually contribute to your recovery as a whole. It’s important, therefore, to maintain a clutter-free space. Moreover, work on clearing your home of bad energy by smudging rooms with sage and setting out healing crystals in key areas like windowsills.
● Eat healthy! If your body lacks the fuel it needs to convert to energy, you are going to feel sluggish and unmotivated when it is time to exercise. Fill up on a diet that includes whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, plenty of produce, and your daily water requirement. Facts For a Better Life shares some common misconceptions on eating healthy that will make it so much easier to maintain this habit.
Addiction recovery takes a multifaceted approach, and not everything works for everybody. However, adding exercise into your routine is a good idea for just about anyone who needs help with their recovery efforts. Exercise balances brain chemistry and provides structure, so find a workout you enjoy and slowly work it into your normal schedule to facilitate sobriety.