How Exercise Can Be an Unbelievable Ally in The Recovery Process
It’s hard to count the number of different ways that exercise aids the recovering individual. The benefits of adopting a regimen of physical activity during early sobriety are innumerable. If you are coming from a place where physical exercise seems daunting, keep in mind that taking a walk counts as exercise, as well as easy yoga poses (a.k.a restorative yoga).
Here is a short list of some of our favorite benefits of exercise:
1. Replacing Negative Pastimes with Positive Activities
Finding new activities to fill the time previously spent using and seeking drugs is an important part of the recovery process. That’s why our treatment center’s location in Boulder is second to none when it comes to filling your day with healthy and uplifting activities. As the recovering person starts to feel the positive benefits of improved health on top of the self esteem boost that comes with maintaining an exercise regimen, this new routine guards against cravings and relapse.
2. Restoring Brain Chemistry
When a person enters treatment, they typically go through an initial detoxification process to safely and comfortably remove the residual chemicals from their system. However, that is not the end of the withdrawals, as they persist in lessening degrees throughout the first several months of sobriety. Terrence Gorski named this phenomenon ‘post acute withdrawal syndrome’ (or PAWS for short), and these stressful moments often contribute to a newly sober person relapsing. By exercising, the recovering person speeds up the brain’s return to normal chemical levels which have been altered by the strong influence of habitual drug or alcohol use.
3. Combatting Stress
On top of merely speeding up the restoration of normal brain chemistry, there is also the added benefit that there is a well established link between exercise and a person’s ability to process stress. The American Psychological Association has illuminated one reason for this in their findings that physical exertion causes the various body systems (for example, cardiovascular and neurological) to communicate more closely, which prepares the body to be more efficient in its handling of stress. There’s also the benefit of exercise reducing insomnia and contributing to more restorative sleep – which also improves the body’s ability to process stress.
Contact Our Treatment Center for More Information
If you or someone you know is in early recovery (or contemplating living in recovery from addiction), contact our treatment center in Boulder Colorado for more information about how we integrate physical movement into our various treatment programs.