The Relationship Between Exercise and Drug Recovery [Infographic]

By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: April 12, 2016

While there are many factors that contribute to sobriety and rehabilitation, there is little doubt about the strong connection between exercise and drug recovery. At our Jacksonville addiction treatment centers, exercise is encouraged for all patients working toward recovery. In fact, the links between regular exercise and drug recovery are quite significant. In this environment of treating addiction, it’s often asked,” Can you become addicted to exercise?” In short, yes, but with moderation, you will prevent replacing one addiction with another.

Exercise Can Ease Withdrawal Symptoms

Often, in the medical detox phase is the hardest for patients to handle. Thankfully, exercise has the potential to minimize some of the withdrawal symptoms. Seizures, for instance, are less likely to occur among patients who exercise, and psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression or mental fatigue are also less common. There are also studies showing the relationship between alcoholism and exercise.

Exercise Can Reduce Anxiety and Depression

A strong reason to combine exercise and drug recovery is that it has the potential to reduce anxiety and depression. Some patients in rehab battle with these issues already, and others may experience them for the first time during the detox process. Either way, both can be frustrating and debilitating, but regular exercise has the ability to minimize them.

Regular Exercise Routines May Reduce the Chance of Relapse

Strong evidence suggests that regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of a drug relapse in patients. There are many reasons that this could be true, but it’s typically attributed to fewer emotional stressors, such as anxiety and depression, as well as improved chemical receptors that can experience pleasure without the need for drugs.

Exercising Outdoors Includes the Calming Effects of Nature

Exercise and drug recovery are already a fantastic pairing, but adding in the calming effects of nature only improves the situation. Many former drug users say that walking, cycling or running outdoors improves their mood significantly.

Exercise Releases Endorphins

Drug use alters brain chemistry, and it can be hard for former drug users to feel the same pleasure receptors and endorphin release that they did when on drugs. Exercise, however, has the potential to improve brain chemistry and reignite endorphin release, creating what is known as a natural and healthy high. When choosing a rehab facility, it makes sense to pick one that integrates exercise into their treatment methods. Call us today and learn more about treatment programs for drug recovery that utilize and harness the many benefits of exercise.