Exercise is an essential part of one’s overall well being. This isn’t an empty piece of advice. Instead, exercise has been found to not only improve one’s psychological health, but recent research has shown that exercise actually helps treat mental illness, such as depression. Research also indicates that exercise can prevent mental illness.
In fact, many drug treatment centers today are including a gym membership or at least regular opportunities to exercise. And they are doing this for good reason! Drug treatment centers recognize the great benefits of exercise for one’s mental and physical health. Along these lines, regular exercise can help a recovering addict feel good emotionally, psychologically, physically, and even spiritually. And this alone can prevent relapses and create a buffer against triggers when they arise.
For many recovering addicts exercise can be an essential ingredient on the path to drug addiction treatment. Exercise can address all the aspects of one’s health: physical, physiological, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Physical activity can release endorphins, which alone help to boost positive feelings. Exercise can also help with the health of the brain, including making new neural connections, which alone can facilitate enduring change. Furthermore, to experience these benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost mental health.
Studies show that exercising at least three times per week is an ideal amount. However, to experience the benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost mental health. Other forms of healthy exercise can include running in place, jumping rope, or walking around the block. If you are at work or have time limitations, you might try a one hour yoga class three times per week or moving the body in five minute increments throughout your work day. No matter how you engage in the exercise, as long as you are moving your body and participating in cardio activity (raising the heart beat) regularly, you’ll feel the effects of exercise, and you’ll see the ways that it can support your recovery.
Another point to keep in mind is that addiction can wreak havoc on the body. Destruction to the brain and body can be severe with addictions to drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine. And even the regular use of alcohol can be harmful. Commonly, among those who struggled with addiction, there is damage to the body, not only because of the addiction itself but also because of destructive eating habits, such as not eating or regularly eating unhealthy foods. This has led many addiction treatment centers to include fitness and nutritional counseling in their programs. Of course, regular exercise can continue through treatment, after treatment, and long into your sobriety. It’s a practice that yields so many physical, emotional, and psychological benefits.
And if you have a family with addiction, you might want to make exercise part of your family’s recovery. When all members of the family are exercising, it can add to the emotional connection of the family. Finding time to exercise together can be a way to improve not only the physical health of your family, but the emotional and spiritual health as well.
Regular exercise in your recovery can restore and maintain your physical health, clarity of mind, and psychological well being.
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