Those who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to neglect key areas of personal wellness—including sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Recovery calls for a holistic view of health, and for a robust, balanced approach to physical wellbeing. In other words, the addiction recovery process should include nutrition, proper rest, and also plenty of physical exercise.

But what makes exercise so valuable to those in recovery? There are a few key benefits.

The Benefits of Exercise in the Recovery Journey

Exercise reduces stress and relieves tension. Tension builds in our bodies every day, while stress manifests as a negative emotional energy; both can have a corrosive effect on physical and emotional health. Exercise is a healthy outlet for both, a way to keep tension and stress in check.

Exercise creates a natural high. Drugs and alcohol can tamper with our brain chemistry and lead to false, artificial happiness—but exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, leading to a very natural, positive feeling. In fact, exercise can positively alter the brain chemistry in ways that are long-lasting, and improve mood, disposition, and energy levels.

Exercise can be a form of meditation. There’s a reason why working out is sometimes called “meditation in motion.” It leaves one feeling rejuvenated, optimistic, and more capable to take on the day’s challenges.

Exercise begets optimism. Between the endorphins and the heightened energy, exercise can ultimately provide a sense of positivity—a kind of optimism that’s invaluable to those facing the rigors of recovery.

This is not to say that those in recovery suddenly have to become gym nuts, but do look for a way to build physical activity into your daily routine. Walking, jogging, and yoga are just three easy ways to get involved with regular exercise. The benefits to your recovery will be significant!

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