The Healing Power of Physical Fitness in Addiction Recovery People have used alcohol and drugs for hundreds of years now, and addiction has been recognized as a health issue for several centuries as well. For example, the first hospital that specialized in treating alcohol as an addiction was opened in New York in 1864. And that was just the beginning. Today, there are hospitals all over the world dealing with the problem of addiction and the topic has long ceased to be a taboo. However, addiction recovery doesn’t stop once you leave these hospitals. They are merely the first step towards it. The real difficulties arise once you return to the stress of your everyday life. One way you can help yourself during the recovery process is by being physically active. But, how does being physically fit help? Here are some answers. It strengthens your body Drug or alcohol abuse can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. Using these substances for an extended period of time can cause your brain to become less sensitive to certain neurotransmitters, like serotonin and norepinephrine. This actually means that, in order to reach the desired levels of these brain chemicals, you will always need a higher dose of drugs. So, once you get cleaned and take drugs off the table, the lack of these chemicals can lead to anxiety and depression. This is where physical exercise comes in. It helps you regain your bone and muscle strength, as well as enhance your immune response , stamina and overall wellness. Furthermore, it can help your brain heal and become more sensitive to the above-mentioned neurotransmitters, which means that you can actually feel good and happy again without relapsing. It helps your mind recover Treating the body alone will not get you far when addiction recovery is concerned. In order to fully rehabilitate after prolonged drug and alcohol abuse, you should take a holistic approach to solving the problem . This means treating your body and your mind at the same time, and physical exercise can help you achieve this. Even just half an hour of moderate workout on a daily basis can help boost your mood as efficiently as certain prescription antidepressants. It can restore your sense of self-worth and make you feel more optimistic. The list of physical activity benefits is a long one and it includes better self-esteem, clearer thoughts, as well as improved memory and concentration. By choosing team sports or fitness classes, you’ll be able to socialize through working out, which can help you get back on track and improve your communication and social skills, but also allow you to start building healthy relationships with those around you again. Another advantage of regular physical activity is better sleep. Normal sleep cycles will allow you to restore your energy and strength, and exercise can help you sleep uninterruptedly and restfully. It creates good habits Being physically active is an effective way to introduce healthy habits and good structure to your days and your life. It’s often accompanied by changes in diet , which is another way to make yourself healthier, stronger and more resilient to various conditions and illnesses that the use of harmful drugs or alcohol can cause. If you create a routine that requires you to exercise and eat at an exact time every day, it will be easier to shift your focus from craving alcohol or drugs to reaching the fitness goals you set for yourself. Also, it will keep you busy with cooking, working out, getting ready for your practice and cleaning up afterwards. Filling your free time with exercising and tending to your health should leave you with little time to think about your addiction. And when you do think about it, you can turn your thoughts into another direction. For instance, you can tell yourself that you can’t drink, since it will prevent you from working out and lead to unwanted shifts in your schedule. So, visit some of your local gyms, find classes that look appealing and then make it your mission never to skip them and never to endanger your fitness progress by using again. It turns your anger into joy Feeling enraged and frustrated after addiction recovery is something that you can expect and something you can tackle with through working out. And while using alcohol od drugs didn’t allow you to properly express these negative emotions, some intense physical activity will help you create a vent for blowing off steam and releasing yourself of frustration and anger. Furthermore, as exercising can help you regain a positive view on the world and your life, you can then work towards making it as fun and as joyful as you possibly can. Not all of us are the same. Some love lifting weights or spending hours on a treadmill, others find serenity and comfort in yoga or Pilates, while many are seeking more creative ways to work out. If you’re one of those, look for hip-hop or any other kind of dance classes near you, try Zumba or take up pole-dancing. In case you’re outdoorsy , opt for hiking, roller-skating or skateboarding, but stay active and fight your addiction with all you’ve got. Physical activity can help make you healthy again, both mentally and physically, so don’t waste your time and let your workout regimen lead you towards the life you want for yourself. About the Author: Luke Douglas is a fitness and health blogger at and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles. FB Twitter