Sobriety is a wonderful thing. That said, whether you’re just getting out of a detox center in Ohio or you’ve been living clean for years in Florida, you probably understand how scary relapse is. How tempting it can sometimes be.
There are a lot of different ways to fight back against this impulse: you’ll want to get professional help, as well as removing yourself from situations. Exercise can also be a powerful tool in the fight against relapse and to help you stay sober.
How Exercise Helps To…
Stress is one of the major triggers that can precipitate relapse for many people. Exercise counteracts this by releasing endorphins into your system.
These endorphins have short-term effects, meaning it’s a good habit to start exercising when you’re concerned about your stress. That said, it also has long-term effects, and putting together a regular workout plan can help you feel better consistently.
Improve Your Mental Health
Exercise has been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression. By keeping your head as clear as possible, you get rid of any distractions that could potentially get in the way of your recovery. The better you feel, the less likely you are to fall back on an addictive substance.
Find A Purpose
Especially during the early stages of recovery, it can be hard to find meaning. Often, people turn to substances to try to escape something, and that can lead to a lack of self-worth once you’re no longer defining yourself with that substance.
It’s even better if you manage to find a community. Talking to someone at the gym or on your regular run can help you meet people who are similarly committed to their health and happiness.
Do Different Kinds Of Exercise Have Different Benefits?
The research on the positive effects of aerobic is stronger than that on the positive effects of anaerobic exercise.
That said, when trying to maintain your sobriety, we recommend choosing one that you really enjoy doing. Along with the sense of accomplishment, you also want to find a physical activity that you can engage in regularly and feel accomplished with.
This feeling of accomplishment will be stronger if you enjoy what you’re doing and this will help you stay sober.
Does The Effectiveness Of Exercise Vary Based On The Substance You’re Addicted To?
Research has been done into how exercise impacts the likelihood of relapse for smokers, alcoholics, and polysubstance drug users. In all these cases, exercise has been linked to a decrease in relapse.
How Sobriety Helps You Exercise
If you or a loved one are currently suffering from addiction, regular exercise may seem impossible. Depending on the substance being used and the amount of time it was used for, it can take your body time to begin feeling more energized after withdrawal.
That said, over time, exercise helps you build back your strength. Instead of being focused on a substance, you’ll have the clarity that allows you to commit to an exercise regimen. As you build muscle, you’ll find exercise more enjoyable since it can give you a sense of achievement.
Even stranger? You may even start enjoying the workout! Relapse is often a scary idea for people recovering from addiction, but exercise can help you feel more confident in your ability to stay sober.