Is Exercise an Effective Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?
Physical fitness can be highly effectively in helping with detox, healing and overall recovery—but only if activities are closely monitored and the drinking doesn’t continue. Holistic healing experts have found that a well-rounded approach to recovery is the most effective option for those suffering from alcohol addiction or other substance abuse problems. If you or someone you love suffers from an addiction to alcohol, call our helpline toll-free at 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) for help.
How Exercise Fits into a Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment Regimen
Healing of the mind, body and spirit—this is the general description most holistic practitioners will give when describing holistic addiction treatment. But how does exercise fit into this mix of therapy?
The answer is relatively simple—exercise helps to heal the body by eliminating toxins through sweat, improving heart and lung function, promoting weight loss and strengthening the muscles. But exercise also helps to heal the spirit, especially when the exercise is a form of meditation such as Yoga, Tai Chi or similar mediation based moves. Likewise, exercise can also improve mental focus and well-being—making this a well-rounded approach of care.
It is very common for exercise to be incorporated into early alcohol addiction treatment because those who are addicted to alcohol often find that they’ve allowed their physical health to deteriorate as a result of their substance abuse. Low fitness levels contribute to a lack of energy, loss of muscle mass, and other health problems with or without alcohol involved—add addiction to the mix and a whirlwind of problems can ensue.
Benefits of Exercise for Alcohol Addiction
While it’s hard to say just how beneficial exercise will be for you in recovery, there are some defined benefits to routine activity and exercise whether you’re addicted to alcohol or not. Things like strengthening muscles, improving cardiovascular health and feeling better are just the tip of the iceberg.
Regular exercise for an addict in early recovery can lead to:
- Increased endorphins that are the “feel good” elements of everyday life.
- Improved cognitive function and reduction of brain fog that is otherwise often associated with alcohol addiction.
- Increased release of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals responsible for happiness and contentment which are often depleted as a result of addiction.
- Improved sleep resulting from actually wearing down the body after a long workout.
- Reduced insomnia that is otherwise associated with early recovery from alcoholism.
- Improved outlook on life resulting in reduced chances of depression.
- Reduced risk of relapse—an early recovering alcoholic can use exercise in place of substance abuse when boredom or other triggers or cravings strike.
- Improved immune system function which can lead to reduced desire to drink and eliminate the perceived need to ‘self-medicate.’
Is Exercise in Recovery Right for Me?
If you’re wondering whether exercise is the right choice for you in early alcohol addiction recovery, consider all of the above benefits that could come from an exercise program and talk with your treatment provider about incorporating activity into your treatment regimen. For help finding a treatment program that will incorporate exercise into your healing routine, call 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) to speak with a caring advisor that can help.
Keep in mind that exercise, like substances such as alcohol, is generally deemed safe in moderation. What this means is that IF you exercise too much, you could suffer from consequences as a result. Much like when you drink too much you suffered from consequences—after all, excessive drinking is what caused your addiction and the subsequent need for treatment in the first place isn’t it?
Too much exercise can lead to addictive behaviors and may prove to be destructive to your body. Be sure that if you begin exercise in early recovery you work closely with your treatment provider and keep it moderated. An hour a day is plenty of exercise for one person when it comes to strength training or aerobic activity. In fact, 30 minutes is generally enough.
Find Treatment that Will Help
Our helpline is committed to assist you with your recovery goals. Whether you’ve been suffering from addiction for 10 months, or 10 years, or any amount of time we can help you get well. Call our helpline toll-free at 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) to speak with a counselor that can assist you in finding a qualified treatment program for your alcohol addiction.
Exercise, like every element of addiction recovery, has a role in the early stages of your healing process provided you are healthy enough to take on additional activity without harm. During your intake assessment, the treatment provider and doctors will determine what level of activity will be safe enough for you to take on in the first days and weeks of your recovery process. As you heal and as time goes on, you can add in additional exercise time if you feel well enough.
Don’t push your limits, know when too much is just that—too much. Start easy and slow, and build up to daily exercise. If you can only walk 10 or 20 minutes a day at first, that’s fine—in time you will feel better and stronger and you can build your exercise regimen up to a point that you’re comfortable with.
To learn more, or for immediate treatment placement, call 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) to talk with one of our advisors.