Move It or Lose It – The Importance of Exercise in Recovery

There are numerous benefits to exercising while in recovery. When you exercise on a regular basis, an increase in blood flow occurs throughout your body and to your brain. When this occurs, you experience an improvement in cell oxygenation, which increases your body’s ability to experience healing following years of abusing alcohol or drugs. Additional benefits include the reduction of anxiety, blood pressure, depression, drug cravings, and stress, as well as the overall improvement of sleep cycles.

Importance of Exercise in Recovery

  • Increase in blood flow oxygenation
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Drug craving reduction
  • Increase in gray and white matter volume
  • Neutral network stabilization
  • Reduction in stress and pain
  • Sleep cycle stabilization
  • Increase in strength

The Addicted Brain

The structure of the brain changes from repeated use of drugs or alcohol, which leads to a myriad of issues including depression, insomnia, memory loss, and other symptoms. Regular exercise aids in recovery from some of the issues caused by drug and alcohol abuse. According to studies, those who run on a regular basis have speedier response times to external stressors and can reduce anxiety faster than those who don’t exercise or run. For those who are looking for coping strategies that are positive and healthful, especially in place of using alcohol or drugs, this adds incentive.

The Recovering Body

Drastic changes occur when someone is undergoing holistic treatment recovery. These changes, depending on the substance they were using, could cause shifts in their heart rhythm, blood pressure, and weight, as well as lowered liver function, muscle tone, or lung function. They could also experience hair loss, skin changes, damage to their bones, and tooth damage. Consistently exercising can help to reverse some of this damage and produce positive, and often immediate, results.

The Individual in Recovery

Exercise promotes beneficial psychological changes for the body and the brain. However, one of the most significant benefits of exercise during recovery is that it helps you replace old and dangerous habits with healthier ones. Through the establishment of a consistent exercise routine, whether it’s cardio training, hiking, swimming, or walking, these new habits will help you improve your overall health and well-being while simultaneously relieving stress.

Measuring Success: Keep a Journal

As a means of increasing the benefits of your exercise routine, keep a journal. Make notations of the times throughout your day when boredom or cravings set in and replace those trouble periods with yoga or another type of exercise. Make sure your exercise goals are attainable and reasonable, lest you create more demand and stress for your body. This can lead to adverse results.