How does exercise fit into addiction recovery?

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Exercise is a well-supported concept in the treatment of mental health issues, having profound effects on cognitive abilities. Aerobic activity transforms both the body and the mind. Nutrition In Recovery supports the concept of regular exercise during recovery. Emphasis should also be placed on improving posture and movement patterns, and improving brain blood flow. Have you considered exercise for addiction recovery? Be aware that it can go too far.

Exercise & Addiction Recovery

Exercise might help repair brain cells damaged by alcohol, when considering that just ten minutes of exercise could blunt an alcoholic’s craving. Other benefits include increased self-esteem, increased self-efficacy, elevated mood, improved energy and concentration, more relaxing sleep, relief of tension, and overall wellness.

Integration of exercise along with nutrition is critical for full recovery from substance abuse. However, it is possible for exercise compulsion to develop and then severe exercise dependence can also occur. Some individuals in early recovery may require monitoring and evaluation by a treatment team.

Mind, Body Exercise

Exercise sends a powerful message to the recovering body, and when coupled with nutritional strategies, helps to rebuild self-efficacy over time. If an addict has a long record of disappointment and failed treatment attempts, the process of improving self-efficacy can be difficult requiring months or years of sustained effort. A strategy that incorporates an exercise program and healthful dietary strategies may help patients to slowly create a new paradigm by rebuilding their self-belief system one action at a time.

Through nutrition education, individual counseling, and exposure to fresh whole foods and exercise, individuals in recovery may increase their self-efficacy in making healthy lifestyle choices. Increased self-efficacy in relation to nutrition may translate into increased self-efficacy regarding abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Diet and exercise are crucial components in the development of an alternative pathway that reflects self-care and a commitment to staying sober.

Substance Abuse Resources:

  • Learn more about Exercise in Recovery HERE
  • Find out about what can happen when exercise goes too far: Muscle Dysmorphia
  • Read more about Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder HERE

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