The Benefits Of Exercise For Addiction Recovery

Since addiction is a disease that physically changes the brain’s structure and changes behaviors, people who have the disease need to know how to abstain from consuming alcohol. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has many types of treatment that work well for treating addiction. The main treatments include detox programs, therapy, rehab programs, and aftercare planning. Each of these treatments benefits the recovering addict in many ways. In addition to these treatments, exercise can help someone who is recovering from an addiction.

Creating a Distraction

When someone begins to overcome an addiction, they are often met with cravings for the substance they are withdrawing from. This might include alcohol, prescription pain medications, or another substance. It is important to have a way to distract yourself from these cravings. The good news is that there are benefits to exercise and recovery. Exercising can help to reduce the cravings. If you are experiencing cravings, you can use exercise to distract yourself.

Creating Balance

Exercise and recovery can create another benefit for you as well. When you are in recovery from an addiction, you need to find and create balance in your life. By adding exercise to your schedule regularly, you can build a structure to your day. For example, you might want to work out in the morning or after you get home for work. Find out when your cravings hit the hardest and exercise at those times.

Improving Sleep

As a recovering addict, you need to create healthy sleep habits as well. Many early recovering addicts have a difficult time falling or staying asleep. They may lay in bed for hours, just trying to fall asleep. Other recovering addicts may wake up every half an hour to a couple of hours. This can severely disrupt the recovery process. It can greatly increase the chances of relapsing as well. If you want to improve your sleep in recovery, exercising regularly can help.

Aiding in Healthy Digestion

Many people who have abused drugs or alcohol experience digestive issues. For example, some of them have a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Some people have undiagnosed digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. If you want to improve your digestion, exercising could help with that. Exercising promotes healthy digestive functioning. When it comes to the benefits of exercise and recovery, improving your digestive system could help you feel better.

Improving Mood

When you are in recovery from an addiction, you also want to be in a positive mood. There are many recovering addicts who struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress disorders. Some recovering addicts feel they have lost the only life they have ever known. While that was an addictive lifestyle, it can still be difficult to let go of it. Improving your mood in recovery can help you to prevent a relapse. Studies have shown that exercising does help to improve mood and mindset.

Increasing Flexibility

Many addicts abused prescription drugs or alcohol to deal with chronic pain. This ultimately led to their addiction. When someone deals with chronic pain, they often have reduced flexibility from not moving around as much. After getting into a recovery program, increasing your flexibility can help to reduce your pain. By reducing your pain, you are also reducing your chances of relapsing.

Reducing Risk of Relapse

The cravings one experiences after getting clean and sober can be tough to deal with. Some people only experience minor cravings, while others experience severe cravings. There are also the withdrawal symptoms to deal with as well. If you are in recovery from addiction, reducing the risk of relapse is going to be one of your main priorities. There are many ways you can do this. Research shows that one of the best ways to do this is through regular exercise. Exercising regularly helps you feel better, both physically and mentally. When you feel better while you are clean and sober, you are less likely to drink or use drugs again.

These are some of the many benefits of exercise and recovery. Choosing to exercise regularly while you are in recovery from an addiction is a great idea. It reduces your risk of relapsing, puts you in a better mood, improves your mental and physical state, and allows you to have a better recovering lifestyle as well. You now know more about the benefits of exercise and recovery. The next step is to find out what type of exercises might be the most helpful for your recovering lifestyle.

Exercise Types for Your Recovery

As mentioned, it would be helpful to know what type of exercises are the most helpful for those who are in recovery from addiction. Some of the exercises you may want to incorporate into your recovering lifestyle include the following:


Many recovering addicts have found aerobic exercises to be the most beneficial. Walking is one of the best aerobic exercises. If you walk briskly or even run, you can have improved sleep, better physical health, improved mood, and reduces levels of stress. It might be best to start with light walking and move your way up to running. When talking about exercise and recovery, aerobics can help you get the most benefits

Lifting Weights

You may also want to start lifting weights in your recovery to improve your muscle strength and tone. Studies have shown that strength training helps to reduce symptoms of depression. Since many recovering addicts experience depression, lifting weights may help you to prevent a relapse.

Tai Chi and Yoga

These exercises have been beneficial to many recovering addicts as well. In fact, many addiction rehab centers incorporate yoga and tai chi into the recovery programs. The meditation, strengthening exercises and stretches help to improve mood, manage emotions, reduce negative thinking, pay attention to biofeedback and improve health.

These are some of the types of exercises that may benefit you during your recovering lifestyle.

If you are recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is helpful to know about the benefits of exercise and recovery. Now that you are equipped with this information, you can create a more positive and beneficial recovering lifestyle.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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