Exercise – A Key Element In Heroin Addiction Recovery

The word “exercise” may frighten you a little bit. You may not be used to it, and you may truly hate it. But, it may be the best possible thing for you right now, especially if you are currently undergoing addiction recovery. Working out regularly yields countless benefits. From getting a daily routine down to feeling the rush of endorphins, daily exercise can greatly help your efforts toward recovery. You don’t have to just take the words from me. There have been countless studies that suggest adding exercise to any addiction treatment, such as counseling, support groups or medication, can actually strengthen the overall effects of recovery and can keep you sober longer. One study, which was published in “Mental Health and Physical Activity,” suggested exercise can, in fact, lead to a sense of accomplishment in the patient and he or she has increased confidence in himself or herself, which leads to him or her staying sober for longer periods because of his or her strengthened mind and will.

Throughout the course of this article, we will inform you of the many ways that exercise can benefit you on your long and hard journey to recovery. Some points are obvious, but a few may not be. All points are helpful, though, and will help you to better yourself so you can feel more confident in your treatment.

The Science

Exercise can often give you a type of natural high. This natural high replaces the artificial highs that you have been having via substance abuse. During the initial stages of recovery, the body and the mind crave the specific endorphins and chemicals that eventually led to the high they were used to. During a strenuous workout, it is very possible you can feel the release of the same chemicals and endorphins. These are paired with endocannabinoids, which are also released during hard exercise. When paired together, these chemicals often produce a euphoria-like feeling that replicates those artificial highs the patient is used to. This can greatly help in recovery because that same feeling can help the person adjust to daily life without the use of substances, such as heroin. Although the euphoric feeling will be less intense than the one he or she experienced during artificial substance abuse, it is still a release of pleasure regardless, which can greatly help a person in recovery.

Start Off Small, Work Your Way Up

If you’re not used to hard and strenuous exercise, then you should definitely start off slowly and carefully. The same should be said for those who have not worked out in a long time. Consider simply talking a walk every day and see how your body reacts to it. After this, you can slowly work yourself a little more every day. Try some more strenuous exercises from the comfort of your own living room. After you feel as though you have done all you can through your own means, maybe try signing up for a gym membership. If you feel as though you need some professional help, then consider hiring a personal trainer who can give you some real advice on how to work out efficiently.

It is important to remember, however, you may be highly susceptible to addiction transfer. This is when you swap one addiction for another, such as substance abuse for an addiction to exercise. Unfortunately, this is common in recovery because many don’t see exercise as a potentially addictive behavior. So, if you find yourself constantly trying to do better or obsessively checking how many miles you’ve just run, take a second and remind yourself the exercise is meant to help you on your journey to recovery.

Exercise Gives You Something to Do

During recovery, the patient often feels at a loss for something to do. He or she often finds himself or herself feeling low because the person is not used to having free time when he or she is sober. A regular exercise schedule can help you to focus on what you want to achieve. A daily schedule helps you to keep a pattern and gives you a reason to get up every morning. Doing daily exercise can also help to keep stressful and unwanted thoughts out of your mind because it is preoccupied with the workout.

Better Sleep Pattern

Substance addiction is well-known to disrupt a lot of natural body processes. This includes the body’s circadian rhythm, and that can affect your sleeping. It can often be difficult for those in recovery to fall asleep and to stay asleep when they are not on their substance of choice. After detox, when your body gradually becomes healthier and returns itself to a much more balanced state, you will find exercise can help to restore a regular sleep pattern because you are exhausting your body and using as much energy as possible when working out. This will tire the muscles out and put your body into a status of rest, so it can heal more efficiently. This will, in turn, allow your body and mind to fall asleep quicker and for much longer periods.

A Great Form of Anger Management

Those who are recovering from substance addiction often have great trouble when it comes to dealing with their anger and frustration. They feel as though a certain person is to blame for their current state or they believe certain circumstances have led them to where they are now, and all these factors could make them angry. You often find that those who have abused substances in the past cannot fully express their feelings in a healthy way. Instead, they lash out in random acts of violence when frustrated by even the smallest thing. Exercise can help you to manage this frustration and direct your anger toward a healthier target, such as a punching bag.

In substance treatment centers, you will often be informed of the many ways that exercise can benefit your recovery from heroin addiction and how you can move on to a better, more organized life because of it. More info here.

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