Exercise packages many health benefits. For regular people, it can be a means to control body weight and maintain good physical shape, reduce risks of medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, improve chances of a healthy old age, relieve stress, and even enhance mood.
How Exercise Can Help a Recovering Addict
For a recovering drug addict or abuser, exercise comes with even more benefits. It’s no wonder many rehab centres offer yoga classes to their patients. Tai chi, yoga, aerobic classes, swimming, and even hiking—these are some of the exercise types that rehabs offer.
Addicts are most times characterised by their disregard of their appearance. Thus they are usually in a messy shape during rehab. Adding exercise to their recovery program won’t only help them assume better physical shape; it will also help them start paying attention to their appearance.
After rehab, recovering addicts tend to have much free time, since they wouldn’t immediately go back to work or school. And idleness can trigger a relapse. Exercise can become one of the activities they can use to keep themselves busy and thus avoid a relapse.
Easing Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (a condition that comes with an overwhelming urge to move the legs) is a withdrawal symptom of Benzodiazepine and opiates addiction. A program of moderate exercise can help ease this syndrome.
Transcending Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is a condition prevalent in recovering addicts. And if it’s not treated, it can lead to a relapse. Since exercise can help mould them back to shape after rehab, it can give them something about themselves (their physical fitness) to be confident about.
Feel Good During Recovery
Exercise releases the feel-good hormones to help the body cope with the strenuous process it involves. During addiction recovery, you want to feel as good about your life as possible to avoid a relapse. Routine exercise can become a means of achieving the great feeling without the many awful disadvantages that come with the ‘high’ offered by substance abuse.
Relieve Stress After Rehab
Early recovery can challenge you emotionally. It’s the time you reflect on the damages you have done and the mistakes you have made. All sorts of emotions can accompany that reflection—anger, frustration, shame, loneliness, sadness, regret, depression, anxiety, and so on. There’s also the pressure to reintegrate with society and reconnect with friends and family, some of which may currently despise you or even stigmatise you. All this can build up to stress you out or push you toward relapsing.
Exercise can be a way to destress and relieve tension.
Improve Mental Health and General Wellbeing
Exercise helps clear your mind. Thus you are able to find concentration and think clearly, focusing on the things that matter in your life. It’s just like meditation, except that in this case you are working both your body and mind. Add to that the relaxation that comes with exercising and you have an improved wellbeing, optimism, and rejuvenation, which are important to the process of addiction recovery.
While you exercise after rehab, be careful so that you don’t wear yourself out, as you don’t want your work-out routine contributing to the problems instead alleviating them. Get some advice from your rehab centre on the type of exercise to engage in and how long you can spend exercising.