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Exercising in Recovery from Addiction

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Addiction impacts people from all walks of life, meaning each person will experience addiction differently. To explain, someone who is worried that they are addicted to marijuana will experience different issues when compared to an individual with long-term opioid addiction. Keeping this in mind, addiction recovery comes in many forms as well. While popular culture presents addiction treatment as hospital beds, IV drips, and group counseling sessions, recovery from addiction can include more natural processes as well. In fact, exercising in recovery is a great way to supplement other treatment methods.

Physical activity and exercise are some of the most popular natural forms of addiction recovery. In fact, exercising is a form of recreational therapy. While professional and medical addiction treatment should always be utilized, exercise can significantly benefit an individual’s progress in recovery. Let’s take a look at how exercise benefits addiction recovery.

Exercise Provides a Natural Rush

Individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction often crave the rush of pleasurable feelings that substances once provided them. When an individual stops using substances, they may lack the ability to naturally produce “happiness-inducing” chemicals such as dopamine. Because of this, part of recovery involves engaging in activities that spark the production of dopamine and serotonin. Thankfully, exercising is a great way to naturally produce dopamine. As a result of exercising, dopamine levels increase, causing improved health and mood.[1]

Additionally, the act of planning and completing exercise routines help individuals keep their minds off of drugs and alcohol. In other words, the cravings and urges to use substances that typically plague individuals in early recovery may be reduced by exercising.

Popular Exercises for Addiction Recovery

Just as there are different types of addiction treatment therapy, there are different forms of exercises that are beneficial to addiction recovery. Let’s take a look at the most popular kinds.

Popular Exercises for Addiction Recovery

Exercising During Addiction Treatment

Many recovery centers utilize exercise as one of the main points of treatment for their patients. For example, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and ropes courses are utilized in many substance abuse treatment programs across the country. Additionally, holistic treatment centers incorporate exercise with a host of other natural therapies for addiction. This is because completing these activities helps to boost self-esteem, communication with others, and naturally produces dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Additionally, the memories made during extreme exercise activities may be a reminder to recovering individuals that they can overcome any obstacle, including their substance abuse.

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction and are interested in finding a natural solution, consider attending an addiction treatment center that offers exercise as a form of therapy. At Carolina Recovery Center, we understand the benefits of traditional methods of treatment, as well as natural methods of substance abuse recovery. Contact us today to get started.