How Does Exercise Help People Recover from Addiction?

Published On: November 10, 20204 min read794 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab

We all know how beneficial exercising can be – it helps us to get into good physical and mental shape. Regularly working out can help with weight loss, heart disease, and other medical problems. What many people do not realize is the importance of exercise in drug rehab and recovery.

Those who are in rehab for addiction can undergo various types of treatment. Supplementing these rehabilitation programs with exercise can be beneficial.

Some of the benefits of exercise include:

  • Enhances physical fitness: Often, those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol do not take care of themselves. They have poor eating habits and rarely get any physical activity. By the time they reach rehab they are in terrible shape, physically. Adding in a workout routine can help increase physical fitness.
  • Increases good moods: Many times, those struggling with substances are in a dark place. They are rarely happy or in good moods and may instead be experiencing feelings of guilt or shame. Exercise can help with that. Quitting drugs or alcohol use helps to lighten loads, but exercise can help even more.
  • It helps lower restless leg syndrome symptoms: Those who have been taking opiates or opioid medication can suffer from restless leg syndrome during withdrawal. Exercise can help lower the symptoms.
  • It helps control emotions: During rehab, you will be entering the early stages of recovery. This can be quite emotional. Exercise can help you control these emotions.

According to the Huffington Post, “Studies also show exercise can reduce stress because galanin (a chemical found in the brain during exercise) seems to diminish certain stress-related cravings. Other research has found that smokers report fewer withdrawal symptoms and less intense cravings after a trip to the gym. Stick with exercise long-term, and it might even diminish drug-seeking behaviors (along with that midsection).”

Common Types of Exercise in Rehab

Many addiction treatment centers offer alternative therapies in the form of exercise for those recovering from addiction. At Freedom Detox, we believe in offering a more holistic path to sobriety. That’s why exercise and personalized care are our top priorities in rehabilitation.

Below you’ll find the most common types of exercise in rehab.


Yoga is a natural companion to 12-step based recovery programs. Impulse control is a common trait among those who enter drug and alcohol rehab treatment programs. Yoga supports these goals by giving clients tools for positively directing their emotions. Whenever you are feeling stressed, stretch and work on your positions.

Tai Chi

As one of the ancient Chinese martial arts used for self-defense, exercise, and meditation, this exercise is great for clients in recovery. Tai Chi is practiced for its many health benefits and is one of the numerous holistic treatment methods facilities offer to help you overcome your addiction, once and for all. Tai Chi is characterized by slow, gentle movements of your arms, legs, and body that aim to reduce stress and tension while increasing a feeling of serenity. It has been described as “meditation in motion.” Tai Chi is used to supplement drug and alcohol addiction treatment because it offers you another method of getting in touch with your inner, true self.

Ropes Courses

A ropes course offers one of the finest therapeutic outdoor experiences in addiction treatment available today. You can meet a number of goals by focusing on positive achievements and confronting personal fears and anxieties. Some of the therapeutic achievements you will experience while participating in a ropes course include positive risk-taking, improved self-confidence, expanded comfort zones, improved leadership skills, overcoming fears, and an overall increase of personal and team development.

Adventure Therapy

This includes a variety of fun, safe, and challenging activities that enhance personal growth and team building. It’s one of the ways facilities battle alcohol and drug addiction directly through an activity-based substance abuse treatment.

Adventure therapy helps to improve confidence and self-esteem, expand your current and sometimes limiting comfort zones, enhance leadership, facilitate goal-setting, build and improve trust, build teamwork, and overcome fears. It also helps provide personal growth and team development. Adventure therapy is another great way to be exposed to the great outdoors and stay, or begin to become more, active in your life while helping you discover new healthy activities that you may be unaware of and passionate about.

Available for You 24/7

We hope this information helps you better understand why exercise is important for drug rehab, as well as recovery. To learn more, contact us at Freedom Detox. We do much more than just help our patients detox – we genuinely care about your well-being and your recovery.

Fill out our form online or call Freedom Detox at (800) 475-2312 for compassionate, 24-hour service. We can answer your questions and help you understand why medical detox is beneficial for your recovery.

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