Exercise and Recovery: How Physical Activity Supports Addiction Treatment

Addiction Recovery Journey

Exercise and Recovery: How Physical Activity Supports Addiction Recovery

Overcoming addiction requires a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that supports both mental and physical health. An integral yet often overlooked aspect of this recovery process is exercise. Today, we delve into how physical activity can bolster addiction recovery, backed by contemporary scientific research.

A diverse group of athletes in addiction recovery training


The Power of Physical Activity in Addiction Recovery

Physical exercise plays a pivotal role in addiction recovery, offering multiple benefits that assist individuals in managing withdrawal symptoms, maintaining abstinence, and enhancing their overall quality of life. Here are four key ways exercise aids in addiction recovery:

1. Natural Mood Enhancement

Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones. This biochemical effect significantly improves mood and induces feelings of well-being, a crucial aspect of addiction recovery. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience found that aerobic exercises like running and cycling induce endorphin release, leading to the well-known “runner’s high.”

2. Reduction of Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

Exercise can serve as a healthy distraction from cravings, while also helping to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that exercise has been found to decrease cravings and reduce consumption in various forms of substance misuse, including nicotine and alcohol. Physical activity can also ameliorate withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and negative mood, making the recovery process more manageable.

3. Improved Physical Health

Substance misuse often results in numerous health issues, from cardiovascular diseases to weakened immune systems. Regular exercise can help rehabilitate the body and improve overall health. Harvard Medical School suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week for significant health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

4. Enhanced Mental Health

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity can help manage mental health conditions linked to substance misuse, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports brain health by helping neurons survive and grow, improving mental well-being and preventing relapse.

Implementing Exercise into an Addiction Recovery Plan

Starting an exercise regimen may seem challenging, especially during recovery. Here are some steps to ease into it:

  • Start Slowly: Begin with gentle activities like yoga and walking. As your strength and endurance improve, gradually increase the intensity.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Start with small, achievable goals. Maybe aim for a 10-minute walk each day, then gradually increase the time.
  • Choose Activities You Enjoy: Finding joy in your physical activity will make it easier to stick to your routine.
  • Connect With Others: Exercising with a friend or support group can provide additional motivation and accountability.

The Role of Last Door Recovery Society in Your Recovery Journey

Last Door Recovery Society recognizes the holistic nature of addiction recovery. Exercise and other healthy practices are integrated into our comprehensive addiction recovery programs. Our committed team supports each individual throughout their journey, providing the necessary tools and resources for lasting success.

Exercise is a powerful ally in addiction recovery. It offers physical and mental health benefits that make the recovery journey more manageable and rewarding. At Last Door Recovery Society, we’re committed to providing a comprehensive recovery approach that includes physical activity. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we’re here to help.

To learn more about our addiction recovery services, speak with one of our dedicated staff members at 604-525-9771. Start your journey to recovery today.


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