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Exercise: Building a Strong Body and Mind in Recovery

Addiction can be very destructive to the body and mind. It changes people both inside and out. While therapy is an essential part of treatment at a California drug and alcohol rehab center, there are other components that should be integrated as well. And some of these same strategies can be continued long after treatment to support continued recovery.

Drugs and alcohol can interfere with your appetite. Some people end up losing a lot of weight because they don’t feel hungry or because their body is unable to absorb the proper vitamins and nutrients. Others end up gaining weight because they feel even hungrier and may eat as another way to self-medicate and cope with their addiction. In addition, alcohol can pack a lot of empty calories without providing any nutritional value.

Furthermore, substance misuse can alter your sleeping patterns and leave you feeling fatigued. You may have started with a lot of energy and focus, but then that fades away making you feel even more lethargic than you were before. With a lack of energy, you may not be getting much exercise or doing much to strengthen and tone your muscles. You may feel out of shape in recovery as you cleanse your body of toxins from substance use and focus on your health.

Turning things around with Exercise

Exercise can help you to get back into shape both physically and mentally. It can be an integral part of addiction treatment and recovery plans. Musician Eminem opened up about how exercise helped him through recovery and improving his health. As a result of misusing painkillers for years, the drugs had burned a hole in the lining of his stomach so he ate constantly to alleviate the pain. This resulted in excessive weight gain. He commented, “When I got out of rehab, I needed to lose weight, but I also needed to figure out a way to function sober. Unless I was blitzed out of my mind, I had trouble sleeping. So I started running. It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect.”

Not only was he experiencing the physical benefits of exercise, but also the mental benefits.

  • Exercise releases endorphins

Endorphins are a natural mood booster, so for those in recovery, exercise can help them to stay more positive. As they work out, it stimulates the production of endorphins and they’re feeling stronger physically and mentally. Depression can be a major trigger to relapse, so keeping themselves in a better mental state can help ward off negative thoughts and build confidence.

Endorphins create a natural high of their own and this can help replace the high that people become accustomed to with drugs or alcohol use. In time the pleasure they feel from exercise becomes rewarding and can be used as an alternative to substance use. They experience a similar feeling from something much healthier for their body.

  • Exercise reduces stress

In addition to the endorphins it produces, exercise can relieve tension and stress throughout the body. When you’re feeling frustrated or upset, going for a run, swim, bike ride, or even yoga session can be beneficial. Putting your energy and focus into exercise works your muscles and alleviates tension that may have been building. Instead, you are exerting this energy in a more productive way.

Keeping stress in check is an important in reducing risk of relapse. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with challenging situations, you can turn to exercise. Yoga can be very relaxing and help people to connect with their mind and body. It requires them to be aware of what each part of their body is doing and how it is moving. While focusing on each move, they are able to clear their mind and push through negative thoughts.

  • Exercise brings structure

Keeping up with a regular exercise routine can bring structure to your day. It gives you something to plan for and look forward to. Having structure can keep you from getting bored and restless. Boredom is another common trigger for relapse. Staying active can also help to reduce cravings and make it easier to overcome them. It puts your mind on something else. Instead of thinking about drinking, you realize that you’re heading out to the gym soon or out for a run and want to feel your best.

Other Benefits of Exercise

As you exercise, you are building up your strength and toning muscles. Getting fit can make you feel better overall and give you a sense of accomplishment. It is also a way to set attainable goals. Perhaps you want to be able to run a certain distance or within a certain time frame, or maybe there is a pose or technique you want to master. With a mind free of drugs and alcohol, you can focus your efforts and energy on achieving these goals. As your health improves, it can boost your confidence and self esteem that you can change and be successful.

Chapters Capistrano integrates a variety of exercise opportunities into its customized treatment plans for clients. Located along the oceanfront, you can enjoy the sand and water as well as local walking paths and other activities. Overcome addition today and get on the road to better health by contacting Chapters Capistrano at 949-371-4198.