GUEST ARTICLE by CONSTANCE RAY
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Make the transition into addiction recovery successfully by building your recovery around exercise. The positive benefits can outweigh the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse. A good workout routine won’t just put you on the path to recovery—it can keep you there.

The Link Between Exercise and Addiction

Various studies show that people who exercise regularly are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Further studies show that exercising can help people who are in recovery from substance abuse. Think of physical exertion as a positive counter-balance to all the negativity that drugs and alcohol create. In studies, aerobic workouts of any type have proven to be particularly effective at killing drug and alcohol cravings and helping recovering addicts stay on the right path.

What Exercise Does to Your Mind

Everyone knows that exercise can be used to sculpt the body. It can increase your flexibility, burn fat, build muscle, and even change the way you walk. But working out has a lot of effects on the mind as well. Regular physical activity reduces stress and other negative feelings that can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Relieving stress is a good way to avoid the triggers that can lead to abuse and relapse.

Exercise can also create positive feelings. After you’re done working out, you can feel proud of yourself for completing your routine. As you begin to notice the changes in your body, your self-esteem and self-confidence will increase. Exercise also has the benefit of helping you avoid the weight gain that many addicts experience once they stop using.

Developing Habits

How many things do you do because they’re a habit? The ways you fold your clothes, brush your teeth, and get out of bed have all been developed out of habit. That’s the power of habit and routine, according to CNN. To truly succeed at addiction recovery, you’ve got to learn how to break those old unhealthy habits. The best way to do that is to develop new, healthy ones. Make exercise your new habit and use it to break those old patterns that you followed in the past.

Make Exercise Part of Your Routine

When you’re designing an exercise routine, consider the equipment you have, the goals you want to meet, and the muscles you need to work out. The best routine allows you to work all your muscles. Don’t focus just on strength training or just on aerobics. Take a total-body approach to your workout routine and integrate many types of movement into your whole program. Use yoga poses to increase your strength and flexibility. Do cardio exercises to build up a sweat and get your heart racing, and use your own bodyweight to build up muscle.

There are many exercises you can do with no equipment at all. Push-ups, squats, and planks are highly effective at muscle-building, and all you need to perform these movements is a little bit of floor space. Keep in mind that push-ups and planks aren’t recommended for anyone with diastasis recti, a core issue both women (not just mothers) and men can develop. Swimming is another great way to get a whole body workout and improves circulation and lowers blood pressure.

Many apps and video games are designed strictly for working out. Experiment with different programs and movements and try out routines to vary your workout. Change up your routine to keep things interesting, and you’ll be more likely to stick with a regular workout program. Start out with a simple plan you can follow, 20 minutes a day, and increase the amount of exercise and the amount of movements as you get more comfortable with regular workouts.

Recovering From Addiction

Use exercise to help you recover from drug and alcohol abuse, and stick with it to stay on the right path. Regularly working out has been proven to reduce stress and the triggers that can lead to substance abuse. Build your new sober lifestyle around your workout and build a positive, healthy life for yourself that’s totally free of addiction.

Photo credit: Pexels

Photo credit: Pexels