If you are a recovering addict, then we are pretty sure that by now you know that getting clean is just one part of the process. What follows is the part where you try to ‘stay clean’ which isn’t exactly a breeze. It requires you to change your hobbies, your social circle, and give your lifestyle a complete overhaul. However, if recent research is to be believed then taking up exercising could prove extremely beneficial for your recovery process.
We Take A Look At How Exercising Can Help You In Recovery:
If a 2011 research from the Vanderbilt University is to be believed then exercising might be able to keep your cravings in check. The most prominent reason for relapse in recovering addicts is increased cravings due to stress, environment or emotional trauma. However, it was found that running on a treadmill just for 10 minutes, ten times over a period of two weeks, could help decrease cravings by up to 50% in severe marijuana addicts. These people were severe addicts who denied they needed help in the first place.
Improve Sleep Cycle
One of the most critical parts of a recovering addict’s process is proper sleep cycle. Addiction is known to disrupt our circadian rhythms which make it difficult for us to fall asleep without a hit. Since, it is crucial for the body to be well rested for the healing process, taking up exercising can work wonders for your sleep cycle. Spending all your energy on exercising will leave you exhausted which will ensure you sleep as soon as you hit the bed without needing to rely on your preferred substance like before.
Heal Your Brain
We all know by now that substance abuse can alter our brain’s structure. The neural pathways that the brain uses to communicate via signals are damaged and new pathways are formed. However, once you quit the drug, the brain has to develop new neural pathways to function without the drug.
The benefits of exercise have been widely pronounced, but it was only recently that it was found to be beneficial for recovering addicts. Apparently, exercising produces a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream which stimulates the production of another BDNF protein that helps in rebuilding new connection points between the nerves.
Outlet For Frustration And Anger
It is possible that we might not have learned to express our feelings correctly when we were under the influence. Feelings of anger and frustration are common among recovering addicts which can make them quite challenging to be around with.
Along with reducing our blood pressure level, exercising also releases endorphins into the bloodstream which increase the feeling of ‘contentedness.’ Going for a run or heading to a gym can prove to be better alternatives instead of taking your anger out on the people around you.
Exercising will improve your fitness levels and probably even work wonders for your overall look. This will give a boost to your personality and increase your self-confidence. You will find yourself to be a more positive person sans anxiety and depression.
Additionally, setting goals for yourself and achieving them could induce feelings of pride and accomplishment and help you reassess your self-worth.
An Activity Worth The Time
Once you’re out of rehab and trying to stay clean, you might have to bring transitional changes to your lifestyle. This might include ditching your favorite clubs, hanging out with your old friends and going to music festivals.
You have to look for activities that you will enjoy sober. Hiking, mountaineering, and playing a sport have all been termed as good examples. However, all these activities require more people to be with you in the same spirit. Exercising can be a great alternative to these activities which can prove to be a fun part of your routine which of course will also benefit you in other ways.
It is apparent from these reasons that exercising can help you recover in more ways than one and why it should definitely be a part of your rehab routine. A gym can also serve as a great place to meet sober people who can be your companions on this journey.