Addiction is a treatable condition, though it has high relapse rates. Between 40 and 60 percent of people who seek help for a substance use disorder will use drugs or alcohol again within the first year. Rather than waiting for people to relapse, rehabs in Arizona continue to look for new ways to help people stay sober. And one thing that continues to show promise is exercise.
If you are looking for ways to prevent relapse and stay on track with your recovery goals, be sure to add exercise to your daily routine. More and more evidence shows the benefits of regular physical activity and how it can act as a healthy alternative for addictive substances. Let’s look at the different ways that exercise can help your recovery.
Boost Your Mood
Physical activity triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day is enough to have a positive impact on your mood. When you exercise outdoors, you also get the added benefit of the sunshine vitamin – Vitamin D – which can also enhance your mood.
The urge to use drugs or alcohol is stronger in the first year of recovery, which is why relapse rates are higher. Fortunately, exercise can help you fight cravings. When you feel the need to get drunk or high, go for a walk, run or swim. Exercise is a healthy distraction, and it can get you outdoors and around other people.
Improve Your Sleep
Sleep and mental health are closely linked. And unfortunately, many people struggle with insomnia when they’re going through recovery. The stress of withdrawal, not sleeping and an underlying mental illness can significantly raise the risk for relapse. By staying active, you can improve the quantity and quality of sleep you get.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Many people in recovery have a low immune system due to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Eating healthy and taking a supplement will restore your immune system, but they’re not the only things you can do. Exercise may make your body’s antibodies and white blood cells more efficient, as well as flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress is one of the top reasons why people abuse drugs or alcohol. It’s also a major relapse trigger. Now that you are in recovery, you must manage your stress levels in other ways. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and slow down the response of stress hormones like cortisol. This prevents your body from staying in fight or flight mode.
Embrace Healthy Living Today
When you’re new to recovery, staying sober can seem like an impossible feat. But you do have lots of tools by your side, and one of them is exercise. It’s free, readily available and can be modified to fit your needs, abilities and lifestyle.
Wolf Creek Recovery Center introduces exercise into our clients’ routines early on through regular physical activity, sports and outdoor therapy. Contact us today to learn more about our Arizona drug rehab and our emphasis on building a healthy, active life.