Why is Exercise Beneficial on the Path to Beating Addictions?

Exercise and Fitness is Beneficial in Beating Addictions

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy cure for addiction? Just a quick mind rewiring to say goodbye forever to temptation and the risk of relapse? Unfortunately, there isn’t, but there is a way to strengthen yourself mentally and physically to face those challenges and reach your personal goals while staying in control over potential addictions. U.S. News & World Report notes that it starts with embarking on a healthy new lifestyle by eating right and getting plenty of exercise.

What Are the Most Common Addictions?

While the most common top-of-mind addictions may include alcohol use disorder, prescription drug abuse and illegal substances, the word ‘addiction’ can also be applied to the abuse of or lack of control over:

  • Food
  • Sex
  • Gambling
  • Screen time
  • Shopping
  • Plastic surgery
  • Risky behavior

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction of any kind we sincerely hope this article helps. We also encourage you to seek professional help if you feel powerless over your addiction.

Beating addiction isn’t easy and there’s no one right way to go about it. Fitness experts and former addicts expound the benefits of everything from bodybuilding to surfing, although any routine should contain some elements of cardio, strength-training and stretching. By forming habits for long term wellness you can greatly improve your ability to defeat addiction.

Building a Stronger Body

Exercise and Fitness is Beneficial in Beating Addictions

There’s a lot more to being healthy than saying “no” to pills. First off, you’ve likely done a bit of damage to your heart, lungs and muscles over the years, and that needs to be undone as far as it’s possible. This does not mean grueling marathons in the summer heat or three-hour sessions at the gym. Try something you enjoy such as cycling, yoga or basketball. Not only will it be fun, after a while, the opposite sex will notice the difference in your physique.

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Reducing Stress

Now you’re committed to staying sober and getting back in shape. That’s on top of your work schedule, social life and family commitments. All of those demands on your time can leave you feeling stressed, and it seems your exercise routine should be the thing to go, but that’s not the case.

In fact, that physical activity is what makes it possible to face hard days without getting overwhelmed as it gives you a “feel good” rush of endorphins with every session, and that’s just the motivation you need to keep going.

Increased Energy Expenditure

This seems counterintuitive. Wouldn’t you feel tired after a morning run? Perhaps at first, but as a writer with Everyday Health explains it, that physical activity strengthens your heart, and the rest of your cardiovascular system, so that it’s more efficiently pumping oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body, leaving you feeling more refreshed overall throughout the day.

You might find yourself not needing that extra cup of coffee in the afternoons once you start getting in the rhythm of exercising. But if you do need that pick-me-up, be careful about when you drink it. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will encourage your body to flush out extra water. If you drink coffee or tea and then exercise, you may find yourself feeling dehydrated and sluggish, so be careful!

Improving Confidence and Self-Worth

Exercise and Fitness is Beneficial in Beating Addictions

You’ll need this if you want to rebuild your life, and the best thing is this renewed sense of pride comes from something that you’ve accomplished yourself: that slimmed-down and toned-up body that you rock out on the streets every day. There’s also the satisfaction you get from sticking to your 45 minutes of jogging every morning or your perfect attendance at spinning class. This could be the springboard for great things.

Adding Structure to Your Life

Organized people accomplish more. They know exactly what they’re going to do, and when they’re going to do it thanks to “to do” lists that keep them focused. You need to take a page out of their book, and exercise is a great place to start as it gets you grooving on schedule.

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Think about it. You wake up at 6 a.m. for your morning workout and then carry that buzz with you to work before hitting the gym with your buddy in the evening. Or perhaps you sign up for an early Level 9 Fitness Training Boot Camp with some friends and then hit the ground running for the rest of your day!

Becoming More Productive

A regular exercise routine and a healthy diet can equate to more productivity at work. Whether you work from home or in an office, you can bolster your efforts by incorporating more movement in your day by adding in a desk workout, taking regular breaks, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or opting for stand-up meetings. Every little bit pays off.

Making New Friends

Exercise and Fitness is Beneficial in Beating Addictions

One piece of advice you’ve heard a million times is to ditch those “friends” you had while you were using. That, however, does a number on your social life. You need to meet new people, and exercise will help with that. For one, there’s nothing unusual about starting up a chat with a perfect stranger at the gym, and your renewed sense of confidence should ensure you make a good impression.

Adopting New Tools

While you really don’t need much equipment to get in shape, you can benefit from having a few good tools in your workout arsenal. A good pair of running shoes will last longer than cheap ones. You should also purchase breathable activewear to wick away moisture and keep you cool.

Know When to Get Professional Help

Exercise can be a great way to be healthy and focus on something positive versus your addiction. However, it is not a cure-all. If you find yourself slipping into old behaviors, reach out for professional help. There are many great rehab centers in California that offer both inpatient and outpatient options, so you can get the level of support you need. Look into your options and find a place that offers what you need to get your life back on track.

Exercise for Every Day Health

Yes, it’s amazing what a bit of exercise can do for your well-being, but bear in mind that none of these outcomes result from just one or two sessions at the gym. It’s going to take a long-term commitment, and that’s why it’s important to make things enjoyable. Stick to activities you love, and mix up your routine to keep from getting bored.

Author

Chloe Pearson

Chloe Pearson is a freelance writer and research specialist. Ms. Pearson loves volunteering for Consumer Health Labs, which aims to help consumers make healthy choices.

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