Beating Addiction Through Exercise
Guest Blog Post Written By: Susan Treadway
It’s important when you’re in the midst of addiction recovery to be able to have a mind that is no longer hooked on thinking about alcohol or drugs. Also, having a body that is fit and in optimal health is supremely beneficial to your overall well-being.
The truth is, exercise is a wonderful way to break free of substance addiction. Not only does it give you a calmer, steadier disposition, but it can break the cycle of wild mood swings that addicts often endure and teaches you discipline, boosts self-esteem and helps you build toward a better looking, better feeling body, all around.
The “Natural High” of Exercise is Better for You
Endorphins are released in your brain whenever you exercise as a result of the rush of blood to your head when you get your heart pumping. Generated in healthy amounts, the endorphins released as a result of exercise can significantly calm an addict’s desire for alcohol or drugs.
Part of the process of beating addiction is to get your body on the right track to healing and repairing itself. This begins when you combine a healthful diet with a regular exercise routine that sees your body making use of every cell in a balanced manner. The more you exercise, the more efficient your body becomes in fighting internal infections, and repairing the effects of addiction. Your mind becomes more lucid, as the brain fog and obsessive thinking patterns invariably dissipate. Studies say that exercise is an “alternative, non-drug reinforcer,” serving as a healthy coping mechanism. Plus it can help with withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse, making it an important supplement to addiction treatment.
Even though it will be hard in the beginning, motivate yourself to get up and get moving on a regular basis. Turn to a fitness-minded friend to support you in your quest to upgrade your body, especially when you first start out.
Pick an Exercise
It’s best to take up an activity that will help unlock the pattern of obsessive thinking from which many addicts suffer. The following exercises will not only stimulate your cardio system, cause you to sweat away toxins, and rejuvenate your spirits, these will also help steer you away from an addictive frame of mind:
Yoga: Yoga, particularly hatha yoga, will help tighten and build your core while breaking mind patterns of obsessive thinking. This type of yoga combines physical exercises with mindfulness exercises. A complement to in-depth meditation, you can elect to slowly incorporate a meditation routine with your hatha yoga classes for maximum benefits.
Swimming: A deeply therapeutic form of exercise, swimming is a wonderful way to move your body. The lack of impact makes this an especially helpful activity, though it can still provide the exertion you need to get the endorphins flowing.
Strength Training: If you’re a fan of gaming apps, video games, competitions and the like, then strength training may be more your cup of tea as you seek to continually “best” the maximum weight you can sustain. A major plus is that lifting weights tires you out on a deep-tissue level, promoting deeper, more restful sleep.
Team Sports: If you’re a sociable type of person, signing up for a team sport might just be the right thing for you. Not only does practicing a team sport help you exercise your body, it assists you in creating healthy relationships with your fellow teammates in a way that uplifts your overall spirits. Being part of a strong social network is a crucial part of the recovery process.
It takes a combination of activities and therapy to successfully pull yourself out of the addiction pit. Embrace a form of physical activity – a healthful, body-and-mind restoring exercise that has been proven to help lift you out of addiction. With perseverance, and a bit of luck, your body will find its groove, pushing along your recovery and helping you live your best life.