Exercise being a daily routine in rehab seems like a no-brainer, but exercise is important to the rehabilitation process in many more ways than just burning calories. Exercise, while the best way to stimulate the body, is also a fantastic way to stimulate the mind. Studies have shown that when the body is in motion, the mind functions more effectively both during and after exercise. This is simply due to blood flow. When you exercise, the body responds by increasing blood flow and blood pressure all throughout the body. This isn’t just limited to your arms or legs, but your brain too. Blood carries oxygen to your brain, and more oxygen in the brain means your brain will be operating at maximum efficiency. The benefits of exercise don’t stop there, though. Increasing your ability to think with a clear mind is just one of the many perks of exercising during recovery.
Other benefits of exercising during recovery are a little more obvious, and you’ll start to notice them pretty quickly if you’re committed to continuing your exercise plan after rehab. Weight loss and improved strength are two amazing benefits to exercise regiments. Your body might be weak after addiction, as muscles, bones, and your body weight may have fluctuated or become far too weak to be considered healthy. When your weight, muscles, and bones all return to a healthy state, you’ll notice a lot of changes. Your energy will be improved, you’ll be getting better sleep, and you’ll be eating healthier. You also might be a little happier – and that’s not your imagination.
Studies have shown that exercising can return dopamine levels in the brain to a normal, healthy state. You’ll be happier, and your dopamine levels can actually return to what they were before substance abuse took hold. Exercise has also been linked to a reduction in anxiety and depression, which are both common in recovery. All this exercising helps in another surprising way. When you’re on mile three of a five-mile run, odds are you won’t be thinking about drugs or craving them. Exercising helps reduce distractions and cravings by focusing the mind on the activity at hand. Your body and mind will undoubtedly be firing on all cylinders, and that leaves no time to think about your past addiction. Exercise will help keep your addiction in the past, too. With your body back to peak performance and your mind producing dopamine at a normal level again, your recovery will be a lot easier.