When you begin the recovery process, daily exercise may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Your focus in on getting and staying sober, so how does a walk or yoga fit into that equation? The truth is that exercise is a fundamental part of a successful recovery program, which is why many treatment programs today incorporate exercise right from the onset. Check out these five reasons why a daily dose of physical exercise is imperative to your recovery.
Restores the Mind/Body Connection
Exercise has been referred to by the Mayo Clinic as “meditation in motion.” When you are focused on the physical part of exercise, your mental and emotional state benefit as well. Because chemical dependency tends to break the mind/body connection, restoring the healthy link during recovery is essential to successful sobriety. Most people experience clearer thinking and an improved mood at the end of a workout session.
Releases “Feel Good” Endorphins
Exercise is a healthy, natural way to reset your brain chemistry that has been altered through substance abuse. Physical activity stimulates the body to release “feel good” endorphins, the same chemicals that are released through substance use. However, when endorphins are released naturally through exercise, your body re-learns that it can regulate itself in healthy ways that do not require drugs or alcohol.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Substance abuse tends to be wrapped up in stress and anxiety, which does not go away automatically when the drugs or alcohol are no longer used. In fact, stress and anxiety left unaddressed can often be a strong factor in relapse. Daily exercise relieves stress, anxiety and depression, so the impact of those potential triggers is significantly reduced.
Increases Self-Confidence, Improves Outlook
Regular exercise changes your body in positive ways, which in turn restores your self-confidence and self-esteem over time. In addition to the feeling of accomplishment you will receive from sticking with your exercise program, you will start to love the way you look and feel. When you see positive changes from daily exercise, you will also begin to realize that other positive changes can take place in your life.
Provides Structure, Takes Time
Regular workout sessions offer structure to your daily schedule, particularly in the early days of your recovery. Many in recovery suddenly find themselves with extra time on their hands, since they are no longer using that time to obtain, use and recover from using. Filling that extra time with exercise is a healthy way to reschedule your days and provide positive benefit.
West Coast Recovery Centers subscribes to a holistic approach to treatment and recovery that improves the health and lives of our patients over the long term. Exercise is an essential component of that approach. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact West Coast Recovery Centers at 442-333-6199.