Doctors have long prescribed exercise to help the mind, body, and spirit. This improvement in well-being is why our addiction recovery center uses fitness therapy to help balance and improve physical and mental conditions during rehab.
The General Effects of Fitness Therapy
Many are aware fitness therapy provides many physical benefits. A regular exercise program will help people lose weight or support an ideal weight. It will improve muscle strength, boost energy, and improve circulation. After a good work-out most people will sleep well. Good sleep is especially important to those recovering from substance abuse as their serotonin levels are low, leaving them exhausted.
What many do not know is how fitness therapy can improve one’s psychological outlook. When one commits to a routine, they improve self-esteem and confidence. Their mood improves and anxiety decreases. Depression evaporates as the mind sharpens and time is spent doing something productive. All these elements work together to improve one’s outlook on life, something a person struggling with addictive behaviors needs.
But these are not the only benefits that exercise provides one recovering from substance abuse.
The Effects of Fitness Therapy on Someone Recovering from Substance Abuse
People abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol because it stimulates the brain’s reward pathway, causing the release of neurochemicals, making them feel good. But the brain often dumps all the chemicals at once, making it hard to get the same high. That is why someone uses more and more of the substance. Because they want that good feeling and will do anything to get it.
Fitness therapy also stimulates the brain’s reward pathway, but in a natural way. Exercise will release mood-boosting neurochemicals while helping to detox the toxic substances. This activity will also promote the formation of new blood vessels in the brain and repair neural tissues that were damaged by drug and alcohol abuse.
Exercise not only repairs the damage caused by drugs and alcohol, it will generate new neurons in memory-formation areas of the brain. That means one will remember things better and create new, sober memories. Best of all, exercise releases stress and improves tolerance to stressful situations.
Other Benefits of Fitness Therapy on Relapse Prevention
Exercise provides an outlet when temptation to use drugs or alcohol appears as it will. Instead of giving in to the temptation, one can head to the gym or go for a jog. Simple stretching exercises or yoga can be done anywhere, even in an office chair. These exercises can help boost confidence and neurotransmitters at critical time, keeping relapse at bay.
Combining Fitness Therapy with Mindfulness and Other Practices
Fitness therapy is only one part of a holistic addiction recovery plan. While working with the body to detox and repair damage, one may also work on the mind and spirit aspect of recovery. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help focus the mind on recovery and sobriety. For those who place importance on the spirit aspect, prayer or reading scriptures is helpful. Holistic addiction recovery plans are tailored to each person, so therapies and practices are comfortable, not forced. Each person chooses practices right for him or herself.
Looking for a Holistic Recovery Plan that Includes Fitness Therapy?
Northlake Recovery in Southern Florida works with each person to plan a comprehensive and individual recovery plan. We offer fitness therapy programs like yoga, weight training, surfing, golfing, swimming, cycling- some of our participants even go swimming with sharks! Call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616 to get more information and begin your fitness journey today!