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How working out can help you fight substance addiction

How working out can help you fight substance addiction

We all know that exercise is good for our health, but finding the right moment to exercise can prove challenging, especially when dealing with an addiction. But what if we would tell you that working out can help you stay away from the substances that harm your body? The latest research shows that millions of people are fighting their addictions by exercising.

More and more rehabilitations centres promote exercise as an effective way to maintain abstinence and to commit to a healthier lifestyle. While some centres feature fully equipped workout spaces on their premises, others encourage their patients to exercise outdoors. Exercise is an effective way to beat addictions because it keeps you focused on something else than your cravings. 

Exercise is a healthier addiction

If you are dealing with substance addiction, your body and mind may crave for alcohol or drugs that produce endorphins in your brain and make you feel high. Many people end up using harmful substances because they find no other way to deal with their stressful lives. Exercise is a healthier alternative because it releases endorphins in your brain and it offers the same euphoria substances do. You will not feel as high as when you are drinking alcohol or using drugs, but its effects are more pleasant for your body and mind. Many people state that working out can turn into an addiction if you perform it regularly. Studies also show that the patients who are getting treatment for substance abuse feel more confident to stay sober if they are getting involved in physical activities. 

Withdrawal is part of recovery, and it’s common for you to experience depression and anxiety during this stage, but working out can help you build an addiction-free life. 

study conducted by the National Institute of Health shows that exercise could lower cravings’ intensity, reduce the withdrawal symptoms, restore brain cells, fight stress and anxiety, improve sleep and work as a coping mechanism. 

You need motivation to start exercising

While exercise can become your new addiction and replace the harmful ones, you need to commit to it for a couple of months to allow it to become part of your routine. When dealing with this type of problem working out may be the last thing you want to do. Well, you are not alone in this situation, many people are experiencing the same thing. In the beginning, exercise will not feel enjoyable, but as you will start seeing its effects, you will understand that it’s one of the best tools to rebuild your life. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has conducted a survey and determined that the students who are working out regularly are at a lower risk than sedentary ones to use marijuana or smoke cigarettes.

There’s no direct connection between exercise and substance abuse, but it’s common knowledge that the people who are working out tend to make healthier choices, so they are less likely to develop addictions. Physical activities are a healthy alternative because they feed the brain and offer you something to focus on. 

During recovery, exercising can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms because you will be too focused on the next set of exercises you have to perform and forget about your cravings. 

If motivation is what you need, then the above information should serve you as an impulse to start running. 

Working out is not complicated

When you say exercise, you picture in your mind the image of a body builder lifting weights at the gym, but it’s important to know that there are multiple ways to work out. You can start slowly with a walk in the park and extend the range of physical activities as you discover new passions. Training for a marathon may be your end goal, but before enrolling in this commitment, you should slowly train your body to face the challenges this type of competition brings. 

Start with low impact exercises because they are more effective than people think, and they can bring the same benefits extensive workouts do if performed correctly. A 30-minute walk can tell the difference when fighting substance abuse. Exercising alone will not stop your addiction, but it will definitely help you, and you should find out more about the recovery process before starting a workout program. Sometimes your physical state prevents you from performing certain exercises, and you should train according to your health state.  

Working out will fill out your days

You need a structure to your days to stay away from using substances and exercising can offer it. Working out can take multiple forms, depending on your abilities and preferences. You can follow a workout plan or you can attend some local classes like spinning or aerobic. Your local gym definitely provides countless options from which you can choose. It’s important to find out what is working for you and stick to it. Exercising will encourage you to stay sober and to resist cravings. You will find the power to think that you can stop yourself from drinking because you can do something better with your life, you can live healthier. 

Including exercise in your daily routine will keep you busy, and you will find easier to stay away from the places and people that can draw you back to your old life. 

Be patient, exercising requires commitment

For you to make exercising part of your routine takes time and commitment. You will have plenty of time once you complete your recovery to try new things, and you can experiment with different physical activities to understand what you prefer. You should try different things, from yoga to weight lifting and running, to see which one of them you find more thrilling. Working out will fill the free time you have and you have no idea what to do with it. But to use exercise as an alternative and coping strategy takes time and you should be patient. You will slowly learn how to adapt to your new life, and you will soon discover how much you love to get home sweaty from the gym. 


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