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How Important Is Exercise in Long-Term Addiction Recovery?

Last Updated: February 15, 2023

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Exercise is good for the body. It can strengthen the muscles and improve cardiovascular health.

What is the role of exercise in addiction recovery? As it turns out, there is a significant role for exercise in the treatment of addiction. A study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found a link between exercise and a reduced likelihood of using and misusing drugs and alcohol. How important is exercise to addiction recovery?

The Role of Exercise in Addiction Recovery

Exercise works in a variety of ways to help you achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.

Improved Brain Chemistry

Excessive drug use is known to negatively impact the brain and change brain chemistry. However, when exercise is introduced into a person’s daily regimen, it releases mood-enhancing endorphins that offer a natural high.

While drugs can lead to an unhealthy imbalance in the brain, regular exercise can help the brain start producing healthy levels of endorphins that may balance out brain chemistry and minimize the strength of drug cravings.

Better Sleep Patterns

People with drug addiction tend to experience poor sleep. In turn, they may deal with fatigued and a lack of energy, which can impede their cognitive functions. With exercise, however, sleep patterns can be improved, helping people sleep better and longer. Better sleep can give them the energy that they may have been lacking without exercise as part of their daily regime.

Reduced Stress

Regular exercise has the ability to alleviate stress, which is a common symptom among those who use and misuse drugs. By reducing stress levels, those with substance use disorders may be able to better resist the need to use drugs or alcohol during times of stress. With a healthier alternative to dealing with stress, they can effectively reduce their drug use and minimize the chance of recurrence of use.

Greater Mental Clarity

Exercise may be able to offer psychological benefits and improve cognitive function. The resulting mental clarity can help people focus on living a healthier life rather than on the stresses and challenges that are part of everyday life. Many people already in an addiction recovery program find that regularly participating in exercise allows them to think more clearly and focus more intently.

Get Back on the Path to a Healthier Life

Exercise is a potentially helpful and effective component of addiction recovery, but it is not the only factor involved in an all-encompassing treatment program. If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the time to call for help is now.

Local addiction treatment programs are available. Speak with a friendly and helpful intake coordinator, who can help you begin your journey toward a better life. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus today to learn more.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.