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Four Ways to Use Exercise for Long-Term Addiction Recovery

February 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 149

Regular exercise is one of the simplest but most critical aspects of drug addiction recovery. Maintaining a fit body is essential for staying healthy and warding off drug cravings. Addicts and non-addicts alike find it to be one of the best ways to relieve immediate stress, and some forms of exercise can even offer long-term psychological benefits.

The therapies addicts receive during drug rehab are of the utmost importance, but clinical treatment only lasts for a few months. Maintaining sobriety is a lifelong effort, and daily physical activity is a must. Here are four ways addicts can use exercise to stay clean after drug rehab.

1. Stress-Relief

Effective stress management can mean the difference between a failed recovery and a lifetime of sobriety. Non-addicts can often get away with chronically high stress levels, but people emerging from rehab must be vigilant in keeping their minds clear and calm. Even minor stressors can cause large and uncontrollable cravings.

Vigorous exercise is one of the healthiest ways addicts can manage their stress. A hard morning workout can prepare them for a difficult day at work, while an evening session can allow them a drug-free outlet for easing their emotional burdens. Staying happy and positive through exercise can also help addicts maintain healthy relationships with their friends and family - people who are often crucial to their recovery efforts.

2. Directly Coping with Cravings

The reason why exercise is such a good stress reliever is that it causes the body to release dopamine - the same chemical responsible for the feel-good effects of addictive drugs. In general, harder workouts cause greater dopamine releases, and fitness enthusiasts often report feeling "high" after their toughest gym sessions.

Since addicts' brains compulsively seek this release in dopamine from drugs, hard workouts can help them directly deal with cravings. The only danger is that exercise itself can become an addiction. Recovering addicts should train hard but retain moderation in their lives by taking days off and engaging in other fun activities.

3. Meditation

Weight lifting, sprinting, and other high-intensity activities tend to require a great deal of mental effort. However, endurance exercises such as jogging, biking, and walking can allow people to "escape" into their own minds. Long cardio sessions can even be meditative and offer addicts a chance to reflect on their thoughts and feelings.

This kind of self-reflection is crucial for people who deal with drug cravings. Addicts learn a variety of coping strategies during their clinical counseling sessions in drug rehab, but they must constantly monitor their mental states and behavior patterns to make use of them.

4. Settings Goals and Building Confidence

Making progress towards physical goals is one of the best ways to build the confidence necessary to deal with mental and emotional problems. Addicts who follow structured workout plans and continually improve their strength, speed, body composition, and other physical attributes are better equipped to deal with stress and cravings. The confidence they gain from exercise carries over into their other recovery efforts and gives them the strength to avoid relapse during tough times.

Addiction is a serious disease, but even the most desperate addicts can find hope with clinical drug rehab. If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, use the links below to get started on an effective treatment program. Don't wait until it's too late.

Click here for a free consultation from one of the most successful drug rehab centers in the country.

Click here to learn more about our drug addiction treatment programs.

Source: EzineArticles
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