The Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery

It should come as no surprise that January is one of the busiest months of the year for gyms and Peloton salespeople, as throngs of people sign-up hoping to get healthy in the new year. Movement is good for everyone, and exercise is an important part of any successful recovery plan.

Findings from a recent Front Psychiatry study, “Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies,” show exercise is extremely helpful when overcoming drug and alcohol addiction because it helps build a daily routine that provides structure, accountability and mindfulness. This is why we make sure to integrate health and wellness into our treatment approach here at the New England Recovery Center with an onsite fitness center including regular workout classes and mindfulness sessions. Unfortunately, the center is closed right now due to the pandemic, but our yoga classes continue virtually. We look forward to resuming all our wellness offerings as soon as possible.

Creating a strong foundation is a key element to sustaining discipline in long-term recovery. In some cases, there is also a social element to working out, which provides opportunities to establish supportive and healthy relationships. Some easy ways to incorporate the social element into working out would be to consider swimming, cycling, joining a local running club, taking up a new sport or enrolling in a gym which offers a variety of group classes.

Not everyone has to become a bodybuilder. Instead start small — look for ways to get the heartrate up and set aside a block of time to focus solely on staying active. Even just a few minutes of running or walking will go a long way in establishing a regular routine. A recent Japanese study found that just 10 minutes of running increases your blood circulation and boosts brain function, which helps improve your mood – and an improved mindset is an added bonus.

According to the CDC, incorporating regular activity into your everyday life is one of the most important things you can do for your health, as it leads to immediate improvements in your overall well-being. Regular exercise keeps you thinking and promotes continued learning. It’s also proven to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety in addition to improving sleep – all powerful tools in recovery. So next time you plan to hit the gym, attend a group fitness class, or go for a walk around the neighborhood, think about the added benefits this will provide to your overall health, attitude, and well-being in the long run.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call the New England Recovery Center today at 1-877-MyRehab.

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