Exercise and Addiction Treatment Benefits of Physical Activity in Recovery

Creating Long-Term Recovery

Nearly 50% of patients who go through a recovery program will relapse. Exercise and addiction treatments continue to be used simultaneously to help patients improve their chance at long-term recovery. To create an addiction treatment plan customized around your needs, contact The Hope House addiction specialists today.

Exercise is one thing patients can do while in a treatment center and upon discharge to help them improve overall health, cope with urges to use, and avoid relapse. The effectiveness of exercise as a source of treatment may vary on from patient to patient.

More research is needed to determine just how effective this form of treatment can be.

Can Exercise Help with Addiction Treatment?

Yes, when combined with therapy, exercise can be a benefit to the treatment process. In fact, exercise has shown to have improve abstinence rates among patients by almost 70%.

Learn about your addiction treatment options.

Among the many benefits exercise can have, physical benefits may seem the most obvious. Being active and getting the blood flowing is a great way to stay in top physical health, but it can also provide benefits if you are in recovery.

Studies have found substance abusers have reduced walking efficiency and maximal strength compared to healthy individuals. If left unaddressed, these issues can lead to major health risks.

Common Risks Associated with Addiction Side Effects

Cancer

Cancer

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Cardiovascular
Disease

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Quality

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Premature
Death

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Mental Health
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Benefits of Physical Exercise

Along with overcoming many of the health risks listed above, some of the benefits associated with exercise and addiction treatment include:

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Reduced Risk
of Cancer

Drug and alcohol addiction are known to increase risk of certain forms of cancer including lung, breast, liver, colon, and more; however, regular exercise and activity has shown to reduce these forms of cancer.

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Improved
Sleep

Sleep issues are a common issue among those with substance abuse problems. In fact, about one-third of substance abusers exhibit insomnia symptoms. Exercise can go a long way to improve sleep and have patients wake up feeling ready to take on the day.

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Improved
Circulation

Some common cardiovascular problems impacting substance abusers include abnormal heart rate, increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and more. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve circulation and help with certain cardiovascular issues such as improved heart functioning, reduced risk of heart attack, and reduced overall death rates.

Along with these, exercise is good for the body in general and can help to repair some of the problems addiction may have caused, including abnormal weight fluctuations.

Studies have shown exercise can help with certain mental health aspects of addiction as well. Depression and anxiety rates decreased among patients who utilized exercise as part of their addiction treatment program.

Decrease Depression

Using exercise to decrease depressive symptoms is something which has been well-established. Involvement in exercise has been shown to lead to positive mood effects, alleviate clinical depression issues, and lead to a happier mood.

Ease Anxiety

Exercise was shown to ease anxiety symptoms in alcohol, illicit drug, and nicotine users as well as in non-users. Exercise has proven to be an effective way to treat clinical anxiety, which is one of the common co-occurring disorders affecting substance users. By attacking the underlying symptoms of addiction, like anxiety, it can help a patient remain sober.

Increased Confidence

Along with these mental disorders, exercise is known to increase self-confidence and studies have shown this can carry over to the addiction space. Exercise can improve a patient’s self-confidence to stay sober, giving them more motivation and potentially preventing relapse.

For alcoholism specifically, some behavioral scientists have suggested exercise may be a solid relapse prevention strategy. Exercise may be a key tool for alcohol recovery as it can help:

  • Provide pleasurable states without the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Reduce depressive symptoms and negative mood
  • Increase self-efficacy
  • Improve coping
  • Decrease urges in drinking

While exercise has shown to improve those who are committed to recovery from alcohol abuse, it has also been a promising treatment for helping people stop drinking in the first place. A number of studies have shown exercise assigned to random heavy drinkers over an 8-week period showed “significant decreases” in quantity of alcohol consumption which were not examined with the control group.

If you need help quitting drinking, call The Hope House addiction specialists today.

Does Exercise Help for Relapse Prevention?

While exercise can help a person’s chance at recovery, it is most effective when used with other forms of treatment including things like medication-assisted treatment (MAT), behavioral therapy, and support groups.

Behavioral Therapy

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a form of treatment giving patients access to specific FDA-approved medications meant to help with certain drug and alcohol addiction problems. They will help patients taper off these drugs and focus on recovery at hand.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Individual, group, and family behavioral therapy sessions are a commonplace in drug and alcohol treatment programs. They are used to help patients identify triggers, underlying health problems, and more to help them overcome addiction.

Support Groups

Support groups are a helpful tool used in many aftercare programs. It allows patients to get in touch with others who are going or have gone through similar situations. It provides learning opportunities and somebody to lean on if they reach a potential tipping point.

Exercise is a viable form of treatment for substance abuse, but it cannot be the only one. For the best chance of recovery, patients should go through a holistic and comprehensive treatment program. The Hope House offers such a program aimed at helping solve the problems of the individual, not just the addiction. Contact our admissions team for more details.