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Addiction, clinically referred to as substance use disorder (SUD), is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite negative consequence. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder, and is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Since the disease compels an individual to prioritize satisfying his or her substance cravings above all else, an individual struggling with addiction can experience a plethora of adverse effects, including physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal challenges, employment issues, and more. Part of the recovery process is to prioritize engaging in behaviors and cultivating and implementing healthy habits that help to achieve an ideal mental and physical balance.

Benefits Of Exercise 

The benefits of exercise, particularly for individuals recovering from substance use disorder, are countless. Frontiers in Psychiatry published an article referring to preclinical studies that indicate “accumulating evidence shows that exercise influences many of the same signaling molecules and neuroanatomical structures that mediate the positive reinforcing effects of drugs. These studies have revealed that exercise produces protective effects in procedures designed to model different transitional phases that occur during the development of, and recovery from, a substance use disorder.” Depending on the individual’s physical ability and preference, different forms of exercise that could benefit one’s addiction recovery could include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, aerobics, yoga, and more. Engaging in regular exercise can also help with:

  • Release of endorphins: participating in regular exercise is a natural way for one’s body to release endorphins, triggering positive feelings in one’s body and reducing pain.
  • Enhancing brain function: a major study found that physical activity spurs the release of proteins that cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections, which improves brain function and subsequently boosts mental health.
  • Commitment: committing to a regular exercise regimen can help an individual establish a positive relationship with following through on a goal, which can in turn increase one’s self-confidence.
  • Self-esteem: after an extended period of habitual substance abuse, perception of self can distort, and self-esteem can diminish. Spending time on mindfully taking care of one’s body can help to increase one’s self-esteem.
  • Physical benefits: engaging in routine exercise can help an individual feel better physically and enhance sleep, strengthen muscles, reduce fatigue, improve circulation, increase endurance, and more.

The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (anything that makes the heart beat faster) each week and at least 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening activity. Integrating regular exercise into one’s daily routine can help an individual in recovery occupy otherwise dormant time with a healthy and productive alternative.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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