Creating healthy habits in recovery is the surest path to building a life worth living in sobriety. Staying active can play a critical role in your physical and mental health and helps ensure that you can maintain your recovery for years to come.
The Benefits of Physical Activity
Everybody knows that exercise is good for you, but how does exercise help you while recovering from a substance use disorder? The answer is surprisingly varied, and exercise has more physical and mental benefits than you may think.
Exercise and the Brain
Exercise can provide tangible symptom relief for people with lingering withdrawal effects from a substance use disorder. Activities like running, weightlifting, canoeing, and yoga release endogenous opioids — the source of the well-known “runner’s high.”1 These naturally released chemicals can provide many of the same effects as illicit opioids, such as:
- Pain relief
- A mild feeling of euphoria
- Stress relief
The effects of a healthy exercise routine can help ease withdrawal symptoms and boost people’s mental health as they work on staying sober.
Furthermore, exercise can increase the levels of dopamine circulation in the brain.2 Dopamine is the brain’s chemical messenger for “reward” and encourages people to repeat the behavior that caused a dopamine release. Using drugs and alcohol can cause massive, unnatural dopamine spikes, which crash in early recovery. This can leave people with intense cravings and unpleasant physical symptoms.
By finding healthy habits in recovery that provide a dopamine boost, many people experience a reduction in cravings and feel more fulfilled and satisfied in life.
Exercise and Mental Health
Decades of research have shown tremendous mental health benefits of exercise. A regular exercise routine can:
- Reduce stress
- Improve symptoms of anxiety or depression
- Build self-esteem and confidence
Exercise routines can also help people develop healthy habits in recovery by teaching them how to stick to a plan, stay committed even when feeling down, and build mental fortitude. It provides structure, accountability, and drive, which are essential elements for a lifetime in recovery.
Clients who continue to exercise create a valuable tool for relapse prevention after rehab. One common problem many people new to recovery face is an abundance of free time and boredom. An exercise routine can prevent relapse by providing a healthy outlet in which to spend that time.
Physical Activity in Addiction Rehab
At Wolf Creek Recovery, we know that building healthy habits in recovery can help our clients achieve sobriety and be a valuable tool for relapse prevention after rehab. As such, we provide several different recreational opportunities for clients in our drug and alcohol treatment centers, including:
Outdoor therapy offers several outlets for physical activity in rehab. Clients participating in these therapies can go canoeing, hiking, camping, paddle boarding, and several other outdoor activities in Prescott, AZ.
The wide range of outdoor therapy options helps clients new to these activities find what works for them. Not everyone is a paddleboarder, but you’ll never know until you try it. The outdoor therapy program helps people find what works for them and see what sparks joy in recovery.
Participating in team sports provide another healthy outlet, which can be incredibly helpful for clients with competitive leanings. Sports, such as soccer, baseball, and basketball, teach healthy communication skills and provide a great source of physical activity. Many people find them more enjoyable than lifting weights or exercising alone.
If you would rather not compete with others, individual sports help you to compete with yourself. Golf, running, weightlifting, and rock climbing are all healthy activities that you can explore at Wolf Creek Recovery. One of them might become your new favorite hobby.
Start Building Healthy Habits in Recovery at Wolf Creek Recovery
If you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol use disorder, reach out to the team at Wolf Creek Recovery by calling our admissions team or filling out our online contact form. You can break free from addiction and build the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve.
Sources: https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/journal-scans/2021/03/11/20/33/exercise-induced-euphoria-and-anxiolysis  https://content.iospress.com/articles/brain-plasticity/bpl150021
Finding purpose in pain is what Jonathon does best. He is a strong advocate for those suffering from substance use disorders. As a person in recovery, Jonathon knows how important it is to receive empathy and compassion. He recognizes that each person comes from a different set of circumstances and deserves to be valued and respected.
With a fresh perspective and compassionate attitude, Jonathon works closely with clients to help them let go of the past and know when to take necessary risks. The recovery process is ongoing, which means people need to move forward while applying the skills learned in treatment. Jonathon is a great motivator when it comes time for this!
Jonathon also places emphasis on the family unit and how it can make or break the recovery experience. Individuals with active, supportive families have far better outcomes. Jonathon realizes that it’s impossible to move mountains overnight, but with the right support team and positive attitude, anything is possible.