Addiction is a behavioral disease that literally works by taking over your entire life and changing who you are as an individual. In this way, it changes the foundation of your identity, and breaks down your self-worth, which alienates you from everyone you love. Addiction impacts you on a physical, mental, and spiritual level that is hard to overcome. For this reason, addiction recovery needs to be addressed with an approach that covers each of these facets of human life. One way that can be a benefit to each of these things in recovery is fitness. Here are some ways that exercise can be used to fight addiction and promote recovery…
Natural boost of dopamine
Many addictive substances are addictive because of the way they alter the chemistry of your brain. For example, opiates help your brain release large amounts of dopamine, which mitigates pain and induces pleasure. However, the problem is that your brain becomes dependent on these substances to continue to produce dopamine. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and get a natural boost of dopamine that helps get your brain’s chemistry back on track.
Helps with stress
People who suffer from addiction often begin to suffer from a co occurring mental disorder, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. For this reason, high levels of stress become the norm in the life of an addict. This stress often gets in the way of recovery, because an addict may believe the only way to get rid of the stress is through substance abuse. Heavy exercise, however, can work as a way to work through these feelings and tension in a healthy and natural way. Releasing tension in a focused way can help ease anxiety, which helps the recovery process.
Improves physical health
Many illicit substances that people get addicted to have a profoundly negative impact on the body. People who use these drugs usually have poor physical health, for this reason, by the time they get to us. Exercise, along with a healthy diet and sleeping habits, is an important step into getting the body back on track and undoing the damage that substance abuse has left behind.