The Impact of Exercise For Addiction Recovery

Posted January 20, 2022 in Mental Health No Comments »
girl doing exercise for addiction recovery

Looking to give your addiction recovery a good boost? Recovering addicts should not ignore the positive benefits of exercise for addiction recovery. Exercise has an impact on just about every aspect of our lives: from our mood, self-image, and even energy levels.

This COVID pandemic lockdown of 2021 (and now 2022) did nothing to help addicts and it definitely helped a bunch of folks slip into a habit of addition. If you’re one of them, and you’ve been struggling to keep the pounds off and avoid relapse, it’s time to hit the gym.

Addiction is all about control: the loss of it, the hunger for it and finally getting back in control after beating your body’s dependency on substances or behavior. Achieving sobriety means learning how to deal with temptations head-on and finding healthier ways to cope when things get tough. Exercise is one of the most powerful tools for changing your life around.

The Science Behind Exercise for Addiction Recovery

Exercise has an immediate effect on our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers and give you a euphoric high similar to that of morphine or codeine. This is the body’s natural way of dealing with the pain or stress caused by physical activity. Endorphins are also linked to feelings of sexual satisfaction, blissful contentment, and improved overall mood.

When exercising in groups, you will instinctively share your goals and successes with other people, which can help you stick with your fitness program for the long haul. Afternoons spent with buddies at the gym are also less likely to slip into drinking time. When your goal is exercise for addiction recovery, these social ‘side effects’ can really help you stay on track.

Exercise promotes serotonin production, which reduces the appetite for carbohydrates and triggers the release of endorphins that make people feel good. If you exercise regularly, your body will become accustomed to this level of serotonin and begin producing it without the help of extra exercise, which means you’ll need to do more reps for your body to experience the same mood-boosting benefits.

The Exercise Stimulus Plan

If you’re tempted to hit up happy hour after work or engage in dangerous activities like smoking or sex addiction, try jogging for 30 minutes after work instead. This way, you can get your addiction recovery fix while avoiding the same old triggers.

You should plan to work out for at least 30 minutes three times a week but keep in mind that the more active you are on a daily the better. For example, long walks or bike rides double as stress-reducing activities that help you avoid temptations and improve your mood.

Fun Exercises to Try

Some people prefer to lift weights, while others enjoy boot camp-style workouts, and of course, you have your endurance athletes who like to run and/or bike. If you don’t particularly have a favorite type of workout or you just want something extra for off-days or weekends, you can always try a few of the ideas below.


One of the more popular ways to work out, yoga is a great way to get in some exercise without feeling too physically drained. Yoga can also help you become more flexible and increase your self-awareness. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, give a few classes a shot before you dismiss it completely.

Rock Climbing

Although this activity is fairly strenuous, rock climbing can be a great way to keep yourself in line with your sobriety goals. It’s also an excellent workout for your upper body and arms, which can be difficult areas of the body to strengthen during fitness training.


This low-impact activity is a great way to strengthen your heart and lungs, raise your energy levels, and increase your self-confidence. Plus, it’s an excellent workout for the entire body! Making time for at least one swim in the week can do wonders for your addiction recovery.

Final Thoughts

Exercise is a powerful addiction recovery tool that should be incorporated into your daily lifestyle as soon as possible, so start hitting the gym today to take control of your exercise for addiction recovery to avoid relapse. You will have plenty of opportunities to exercise as part of your treatment at Impact Recovery Center.

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