Recovery is most effective when the addicted individual understands the need to heal in body, mind and spirit. During withdrawal from addictive substances, the physical impact of abuse becomes painfully evident. With rehabilitation, there is an opportunity to not just heal the physical damage of substance abuse, but become healthier than ever before.
Physical exercise can play a major role in successful recovery. When the body engages in regular activity, chemical and emotional changes take place that increase an individual’s physical health and mental health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise impacts mental health by –
Altering the Body’s Chemistry. The endorphins released during physical activity appear to stimulate the brain in positive ways. They seem to be natural pain relievers–perhaps the body’s own way of combating the muscular changes that go along with exercise–and mood elevators.
Increasing Self Esteem. Regular exercise generally involves setting and achieving goals–whether they have to do with weight lifting, speed, endurance, body measurements, etc. Even something as simple as walking around the block a minute faster than the previous week increases satisfaction and confidence.
Fostering Social Interaction. While not all forms of physical exercise involve social interaction, many do. Even taking a walk or running can be done with a partner. Playing team sports at a community center or at the gym is an opportunity to make new friends and work cooperatively toward goals.
Alleviating Stress. Frustration, stress and aggression are all relieved to one degree or another by physical activity. By giving your physical response to stress an outlet, you bring your body’s chemistry back into harmony. In addition, exercise can be a healthy distraction and reprieve from the things that cause your stress.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that exercise is only about the gym or sports or running. Physical exercise takes many forms: washing the car, walking to work, scrubbing the kitchen floor, pulling weeds, etc. While recovery is an opportunity to begin new healthy habits and hobbies, you don’t need to become an athlete to see the benefits of this positive lifestyle change.
In short, physical exercise can have a profound impact on mental health, which strengthens an individual during important stages of recovery.
Mt. Regis Center is a substance abuse rehabilitation center in Salem, Virginia, dedicated to providing you or your loved one with high quality recovery treatment. Please call 877-217-3447 to speak with a member of our staff. Or fill out this help form, and we will contact you right away.