Exercising is great for our health, and it keeps us active, but could there be any advantages of exercising apart from losing weight and remaining active? Studies show that a lot of people can recover from their ailments by merely working out. However, it would be noteworthy to mention here that workout can also directly impact an addiction. In fact, working out is great for curing addictions because it pretty much works like an addiction (kind of.) so, let’s talk about a few ways in which exercise can aid with addiction recovery.
- Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies
- Impact of Physical Exercise on Substance Use Disorders: A Meta-Analysis
1. It Replaces the High!
You probably wouldn’t have thought about it from this angle but working out can replace the high. How? Because of the rush of endorphins that you get due to working out. When we work out on a regular basis, our body releases a certain amount of happiness chemicals in a specific amount. Drugs do the same job but on a much larger scale which eventually disrupts our entire hormonal system. When you are trying to get off the drugs, you might end up feeling the need for that same rush of hormones. In fact, this dire need is what causes people to eventually relapse.
When you start working out, you will be constructively using your time. And it will allow you to get over your addiction by replacing the hormone rush that the drugs gave you. Your body will get a supply of the emotions that you need to function correctly; therefore, you can quickly get over the addiction because you won’t need those hormones in excess. Exercise is a great way to kick out this problem once and for all.
2. It Helps You Sleep
An addict needs to get back to their routine sleep patterns. People who use drugs can have a messed up sleep cycle, in fact, they might not even have a sleep cycle, to begin with. Therefore, it is imperative to find a way that can help you sleep peacefully at night. When you have quit using drugs you are going to need to find a way to get a full night’s sleep. So to have a peaceful and sound sleep every night, you should consider sleeping regularly and on time each night. And for that, you should work out daily. When we work out, it tires our body, and therefore, it makes us fall asleep faster at night.
People who use drugs do not have proper sleep stages when they sleep; there is a specific sleep cycle that we need to keep in mind before we fall asleep and that is known as the REM cycle. Substance abuse can lead you to have disrupted sleep cycles which is very deteriorating for your health. And since working out can keep you happier, you’re likely to have a stress-free and sound sleep at night which will eventually make your overall health better.
My daughter was insomniac, and I had to put her in rehab in her teens because she fell into bad company, and when she came out of it her insomnia was cured as well; all because she did a lot of hula hooping.
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3. It Makes You Spiritual
There are several kinds of exercises that you can start doing, but I find yoga especially useful for people who are addicted to drugs. Mostly, people fall into an addiction primarily because they are depressed. Yoga addresses the issues of mental anxieties and tensions that they suffer from and fixes it. So by practicing yoga, you’re fixing the very core of the problem at hand.
Yoga is a form of meditation, it offers you a deeper connection to yourself, and it allows you to submerge yourself in your emotions and then find the solution. So in a way, yoga makes you a lot more peaceful than you were before you fell into your addiction. It helps you become more connected to the source energy, and it causes you to develop gratefulness so that eventually, you can heal all of your unresolved mental issues.
4. It Makes You More Social
If you are suffering from an addiction, then you probably have friends who consume drugs as well. And to break this addiction, you would probably need to join a gym for working out. When you enter a gym, you will have the opportunity to make new friends, and you are going to be much more social than you would otherwise have been. Being social helps a lot when it comes to beating an addiction because being addicted to drugs can take a toll on your overall health.
You should be more outgoing and make friends, but addicts cannot relate to other people. Working out can make you a part of a broader community where you can find many people who are like you, who knows some of them might have faced substance abuse in the past. So there are a lot of possibilities that you should keep in mind and be optimistic about the future.
5. It’ll Stop You From Going Back
The worst fear of the relatives and friends of an addict is that they might relapse after becoming sober and it happens quite often. So if you don’t want to get back to being an addict, you should probably consider working out more regularly. It will keep you actively busy with your routine, and you will hopefully not relapse into your old ways. If you have a loved one who is dealing with addiction problems, then you probably need to focus on keeping them busy in constructive activities like working out, etc.
It is imperative that you remember to stay steady and adamant about your goal, working out can not only takes you out of this rut; it can also help you stay out of it forever. Start slow and be consistent and you will soon notice the results of it. And more importantly, remember to keep your diet healthy all along.
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Currently a student of English Literature, in his final years, James Martin is passionate about writing his thoughts into words. He takes up writing projects in his leisure time to accompany his studies. Generally, understands the essence of writing on every topic, but especially those that relate to his field.