Relapse is not a sweet experience, especially for someone who has been battling an addiction, and is doing everything in their power to overcome it. Sometimes it may feel as if there is no hope, or there is no possible way to successfully fight off the cravings and you may feel like a fly entangled in a spider’s web, the more you try to break off the bad habits the more you feel wrapped up in it.
Statistics have shown that about 2% of the world population is battling an Addiction with either substance use or alcohol. Over 300 million people in this statistics are alcoholics and only 36% of this number have been able to break free of this bad habit and eliminate their alcohol intake or drastically reduce it with little or no help at all. However the rest of the 64% are currently in the battle to stay clean and sober, therefore addiction is like a disease that a sizable number of the world population has caught.
In this article, we will talk about how regular exercise is proving to be an effective way to stay sober.
Does Exercise Help With Addiction?
The answer is yes! You may wonder how just engaging in one form of exercise, and sweating helps. Well, scientists have proven that there is a connection between the brain and addictive substances, therefore the moment a person decides to break off a bad habit, the link between the brain and the activity still lingers, and exercise can prove to be a healthy replacement for the substance, how? Drug abuse and exercise have one thing in common, they activate the reward pathway, triggering the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Since this is the case, exercise can easily step in to replace the dopamine and serotonin that illicit substances give in a very healthy way.
In addition, research studies have suggested that a regular fitness routine can help an individual avoid falling into the trap of substance abuse, in the very first place, research published by a peer-reviewed journal Progress in Preventive Medicine shows that teens who build up a regular workout routine and participated in sports were 23% less likely to use tobacco, 13% less likely to involve in binge drinking and also reduces the chances of experimenting with other illicit drugs.
As individuals seek effective ways to overcome addiction, it’s crucial to explore the available support systems. In Columbus, Ohio, there are various resources dedicated to aiding those on their journey to sobriety. One of these resources is the local IOP program Columbus Ohio. These programs offer comprehensive support and therapy tailored to individual needs, emphasizing the importance of community and professional guidance in the recovery process.
10 Ways Exercise Proofs Beneficial For Recovery
Now let’s talk about 10 ways in which exercise can help in the path to recovery.
Creates A Regular Routine
Workouts tend to give structure, and routine, once you create a schedule and stick to it, or even join a Fitness class, it gives a sense of responsibility, accountability, and commitment to a cause other than substance use. Also, workouts can help to fight off the temptation to stay up late to drink and are a perfect excuse to skip happy hour after work, moments where a person battling addictions is most vulnerable to relapse.
Improves physical And Mental health
Those who are trying to quit bad habits, especially cigarettes, have an increased food consumption, because of nicotine in their body system, and this can lead to obesity another medical problem if care is not taken, exercise can help to balance the equation ensuring that the high level of food intake does not result to obesity, by burning high amount calories and keeping the body fit. Research also shows that there is a link between anorexia Nervosa, an eating disorder that can become life-threatening if left untreated, and Substance abuse.
Some addicts are so hooked that the excess use of illicit drugs results in weight loss, also drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine cause a lack of appetite and restricting behaviors. Exercise will not only help to break off the habits but help to build new and healthy ones. In addition, Exercise strengthens bone structure and density, making a person look and feel healthy.
Reduces Stress Level
Stress is one of the leading causes of substance abuse, as these individuals use it as a form of escape, and relaxation. Exercise is yet another effective way to reduce stress and have wholesome relaxation. It helps to release tension, improve mood, and even some research suggests that exercise is one of the best ways to increase our ability to deal with daily stress.
Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep is a very important factor in human life, scientific research and study shows that chronic sleep deprivation results in heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, depression, lower sex drive, and reduced immune function. Many who are trying to break off an Addiction often suffer from insomnia, a condition that can sporadically increase stress levels and if care is not taken lead to a relapse.
Exercise is one of the best ways to have quality sleep because when you work out it raises the core temperature in the body, a system that works like a clock and tells the body when it’s time to be awake. But 30-90 minutes after exercising the core temperature begins to fall and the body will naturally start to fall asleep. Therefore it works wonders and can prove to be a long-term treatment for sleep deprivation.
Helps To Reduce Cravings
Cravings are something all humans have, and for addicts on the road to recovery, it may yet prove to be one of the most formidable foes they will have to face on the journey to become sober. However, exercise is also very useful in fighting these cravings, because when a person exercises their body it increases blood flow, aiding the movement of nutrients and oxygen across the body, resulting in more energy, and improved cognitive abilities, things that can help when faced with the overwhelming power of cravings.
Helps to Create A Support System
It is a proven fact that we humans are social beings, we like to communicate, and as the saying goes no man is an island of knowledge. Individuals going through recovery from addiction especially need to be around family and friends as they can encourage them and help in the fight against relapsing. However, it is also very important that they connect with individuals going through what they are currently going through or someone who has passed through something similar, as it will be easy for them to relate with such a person because they will understand each other.
Exercise is a great way for these people to connect, as there are several fitness centers, sports clubs, and recovery centers designed to help recovering addicts encourage one another, and not give up in the fight against breaking bad habits.
Helps With Withdrawal Symptoms
It is very common to ask does Exercise help detox? Well, meta-analysis research shows that up to 95% of physical Exercise and workout is an effective way to deal with withdrawal symptoms, and the interesting part is that it is less painful. Nevertheless, it’s very important to note that even though Exercise helps, detox patients still need to be kept under close medical supervision, and better to be in a detox center where experts trained to handle such matters are readily available to help with either medication or effective counseling.
Healthy Way To Kill Time
Something many recovering addicts realize they have is free time, once they start the journey of sobriety, and this can either prove to be a blessing or a curse, depending on how they use it. Exercise is a very good and healthy way to kill this free time, building a routine of working out several hours a day will keep you busy, so much that you won’t be tempted to think about the illicit drug substance or alcohol. Further having an exercise goal helps with cravings, by redirecting the whole mind and thought to something wholesome and upbuilding.
Helps To Build Self Control
Self-control is something everyone needs, but most especially, recovering addicts need not only to strengthen their physical health but also to increase their moral strength of character and this will help them to fight addiction. Sportsmen and women are principled individuals; they always stick to a specific eating and drinking diet to keep fit. Regular exercise routines, setting working out goals, and meeting them will help to recover, by building these principles and also utilizing them in breaking free from addictions.
Boost Self Esteem
Many times addicts suffer from low self-esteem, for example, individuals who are excessively conscious of their body shape and want to change them to something perfect often fall into the trap of anorexia or bodybuilders, and in no time they get hooked. Studies have shown that individuals who engage in severe caloric restrictions often turn to psychostimulants and end up abusing the drugs. Exercise is a very good way to build self-esteem, first setting goals, and meeting them will give a sense of accomplishment, second it makes an individual not only healthy but also look healthy and physically fit.
How To Start Exercising Daily
Well, there is a saying, that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, meaning start small. There are various forms of exercise, simply walking for just 30-45 minutes a day is a healthy way to burn calories and keep fit, also it is a nice way to block out distractions and keep a clear mind. Further keep in mind that because an Exercise has less intensity, it does not make it less effective. But the most important thing is to find one that works for you because the human body is very unique, different exercise activities work for different people, so you can make it a personal project to find your kryptonite in a manner of speaking and discover what makes you tick. Here are some forms of Exercise to try out
- Teams sport
- Cross fit
- Weight lifting
- Rock climbing