Many people don’t realize it, but fitness plays a huge role in recovery from active alcoholism or drug addiction. Whether you or your loved one suffered from addiction for weeks, months, or years, oftentimes personal health gets disregarded while in the midst of substance use. Additionally, many symptoms of withdrawal can be alleviated through fitness. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are also a concern for many people on the path to sobriety, but good fitness habits can help them deal with these issues as well.
The process of getting sober from an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be long and full of setbacks. One approach to drug rehab, holistic treatment, combines the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of recovery into one program. Rather than treating just the physical addiction, these programs will teach you or your loved one how to cope with stress and the other difficulties in life using healthy methods such as fitness and exercise. You may be surprised to discover the positive results that combined rehab and fitness can bring someone struggling with addiction.
Many people associate addiction treatment with talk therapies like cognitive behavior therapy or family therapy. While these therapies are certainly important in helping a person achieve sobriety, effective treatment usually takes on a more holistic approach.
Holistic means treating the whole person instead of just a diagnosis or set of symptoms. Holistic treatment for drug addiction is especially helpful. It allows a person the opportunity to address physical, mental, and emotional issues associated with his or her drug use. Holistic therapies include mindful meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and training in nutrition and fitness.
Can hitting the gym really help battle addiction? It sure can. Use this guide to find out how.
How is fitness helpful for addiction treatment?
When entering any type of addiction treatment, you will probably encounter some challenges along the way. At times, these challenges may seem too difficult to handle, but they usually pass with appropriate support from skilled clinicians and access to holistic therapies. Rehab fitness programs are an excellent way to feel better and stay engaged in treatment.
Upon entering treatment, you may be suffering from acute and post-acute withdrawal symptoms that cause cravings and make you more irritable, at the very least. Finally addressing your addiction and the factors for substance use can bring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings and emotions as well. A rehab fitness program can help you deal with stressful situations. For example, if you struggle with anger or anxiety, a good workout could calm your nerves and improve your mental state.
Fitness also helps with self-discipline. If you choose a fitness activity and stick with it, you are not only exercising your body, you are also giving your self-control a workout. Many people suffering with addiction lack the ability to control some of their impulses and may struggle with personal accountability. The discipline it takes to make fitness a habit can be transferred to other areas of life, making exercise and fitness excellent methods of improving your physical and emotional wellbeing. As you begin to see the positive results of participating in drug rehab and fitness sessions, your confidence to take on other challenges in your life will be built as well.
Rehab fitness programs also help you discover new outlets for your leisure time. The choices you make in your free time directly impact the success of your recovery. Think of it this way: how much of your free time was spent using or pursing your drug of choice? As you embrace a life of sobriety, you may quickly notice that the time you previously spent using is now time you have to fill with engaging, meaningful activities. Replacing the time you spent getting high with fitness activities not only improves the quality of your life, but it also does wonders for your overall health.
What are the benefits of exercise during recovery?
Researchers are discovering just how important fitness can be for a person’s recovery. For example, a review of literature from preclinical studies determined that exercised-based interventions can reduce the compulsive patterns of drug abuse in a clinical setting.
Take a moment to think of addiction. It is a cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. For example, someone struggling with alcohol addiction thinks about having their first drink more and more as the day wears on. These thoughts could become unbearable until the person finally has the chance to drink. It is etched into their routine as a compulsive behavior: get home from work and pour a drink. The compulsive behavior continues until the person is drunk and passes out. Upon waking the next morning, a person’s first thoughts again involve getting his or her next drink. Sadly, this cycle continues, often day after day, until there is some type of intervention.
Exercise can help break the cycle of these thoughts and behaviors by changing personal habits. In addition, fitness helps the body and mind function more effectively. It may reduce cravings and allow a person to finally feel good without using drugs or alcohol.
For example, when you use drugs or alcohol, your brain releases pleasure chemicals, like dopamine, to reward the behavior. Exercise can also release these chemicals which function to reward your fitness session. People starting recovery often miss, or even crave, the feeling of being “high.” Exercise gives your body a healthier way to experience the brain’s natural reward system.
Drug and alcohol rehab fitness programs can also help with a person’s co-occurring disorders. Many people struggling with addiction also have other conditions that relate to drug use. Exercise has been shown to be very effective in helping reduce symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
How can physical health help with sobriety?
Those struggling with addiction often neglect their body’s basic needs while using or pursuing their drug of choice. In addition, drug use can cause significant damage to the body. When you aren’t taking the necessary steps to strengthen and nourish the body, you may lack energy and feel run down. If you don’t feel well while sober, the compulsive response to feeling better is to get high. Unfortunately, this creates a vicious cycle where drugs make you feel great but being sober leaves you feeling awful.
Fitness activities are a great way to break this destructive cycle. As your body becomes stronger and you gain more energy, you become more resilient to the stressors and triggers that may have caused you to use drugs in the past. In addition, you feel more confident in your health and appearance, which can boost your likelihood of maintaining a sober life.
Because many fitness activities involve working with others, you also create a strong support network of like-minded individuals who seek a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you join a gym fitness class, others may encourage you to keep pressing through the exercises even if you are tired or unmotivated. In addition, if you miss a couple classes, someone may call or text you to make sure you are okay. They help you stay engaged and accountable for your actions.
Fitness activities can also help build your social skills and bonds. For instance, you might join a local softball league to get some exercise and meet other people. You may choose this activity because you think it will be a fun experience. However, there are plenty of other benefits you could gain by joining a team sport than just trying something new. For example, it helps improve your communication skills, teaches you to deal with stressful situations without using drugs, and provides opportunities for social engagement that don’t revolve around getting high.
Types of Fitness Used During Treatment
People who are interested in using fitness as part of rehab often have a variety of options at holistic drug treatment centers. The wide selection of activities allows you the opportunity to find an activity you enjoy and work it into your daily routine. Some people love going for a long jog to clear their mind and relieve stress. Others find lifting weights helps them feel better physically and mentally. Of course, there are plenty of individuals that have not exercised for quite some time because much of their free time was spent using drugs or alcohol. These people generally benefit from starting with a beginner exercise class or some simple yoga routines before they move on to more challenging activities.
When you attend rehab at a facility that offers several fitness experiences, you will get the chance to try new activities. When you find an activity that you like, you can start adding it into your daily routine. Soon, this activity will become a positive habit you will continue to do long after treatment.
Holistic drug rehab centers offer a wide range of fitness activities helping you embrace a healthy lifestyle, including:
Access to gym equipment
Aerobic fitness classes
Outdoor activities like hiking, mountain climbing, or canoeing
Biking or jogging groups
Access to a pool for swimming or water fitness classes
How often should I exercise while recovering from alcohol and drug abuse?
Your exercise routine will depend on a few different factors. There is no set amount of time that is perfect for every person in recovery. Each person’s interests, health, and workout intensity are different, so you may want to schedule an appointment with a doctor or personal trainer to see how much and what kind of fitness is best for you. Holistic rehab facilities may offer such services on-site, making it easier for you to incorporate the ideal fitness program into your recovery.
If you have battled addiction for a long time, you will need to have a professional make sure your body is healthy enough for exercise. Drugs can do a lot of damage to the body including the heart, blood vessels, liver, and other vital organs. In addition, you should be mindful of any prior injuries which might get worse when exercising. A full medical examination can determine if you have any conditions that may worsen when exercising.
Another consideration is the type of activity you plan on doing and how intense it will be. Some people enjoy a brisk walk but don’t enjoy other types of physical activity. These can include more intense activities like weight lifting, jogging, or biking. The amount of time you should exercise generally depends on the intensity of your workouts.
It is recommended a typical, healthy adult gets at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. Aerobic exercises include jogging, biking, swimming, and many types of exercise classes. In addition, adults should do some form of strength training twice a week. Strength training activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and yoga.
Of course, some people may be overwhelmed when they begin because they are considering exercising for a half hour at a time right from the start. The best advice in this situation is take small steps. Set a simple goal. For example, jogging on the treadmill for four minutes at a time. Once you reach those four minutes, you may choose to keep exercising. If not, that’s fine too. By showing up everyday and giving at least four minutes on a treadmill, you’re making it a routine. As the routine is established, you can gradually increase the time. Keep your goals manageable so you don’t get burned out and give up.
Finding a fitness activity you love will go a long way in creating positive habits that can lead to lasting change.
Where can I find a rehab in Scottsdale, Arizona using fitness to help with substance use?
If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one, a holistic program with comprehensive treatment options is an excellent choice. A program that combines the effectiveness of conventional drug rehab and holistic activities such as exercise and yoga address all of the issues that may lead to substance use instead of just the physical addiction. If you live in the Scottsdale, Arizona area, Pinnacle Peak Recovery may be your answer to lasting change.
At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we want to make sure you have every tool available to finally live a meaningful, sober life. We know that personalized treatment works best for those struggling with addiction. Our staff take the time to get to know you and find out the root causes of your addiction before we develop a plan for your success. Based on your personal interests, background, and goals, we provide evidence-based therapy and other holistic treatments throughout your treatment.
In addition to gym access and fitness classes, we have other opportunities to keep you moving and engaged in treatment. Our recreation therapy and adventure therapy programs offer exciting opportunities to develop personal skills and discover new interests. The scenic backdrop of our Scottsdale, Arizona campus provides inspiring opportunities to connect with nature.
From your first courageous step of calling our program, to accessing any necessary alumni services, we will stand by you every step of the way as you embark on your journey to sobriety.
Get started with recovery today at Pinnacle Peak Recovery
Many people suffering with addiction find excuses to avoid getting help. They aren’t sure what treatment is going to be like. They can’t imagine a life without their drug of choice. And sometimes, they just don’t know how to find help.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery understands that seeking treatment is hard. This is why we provide a comfortable, supportive environment to help you embrace true, lasting change in your life.
Tossing aside excuses and facing your fears may be a life-saving decision. A simple call to 866-377-4761 may provide you with the knowledge and resources to successfully battle your addiction. We would love to hear from you today.