Physical exercise is a great tool for many people in different stages of their lives. It’s useful for weight loss and management as well as a healthy hobby. But, the benefits of physical exercise can also be felt by those undergoing treatment in rehabilitation centers. Rehab isn’t just about overcoming a substance abuse issue. It’s about reclaiming your mind and body and moving toward a healthier life. Here are 9 ways that physical exercise can benefit those in rehab.
1. Improved Sleep
When battling a variety of drugs or alcohol, sleep is one of the areas of life most often affected. Withdrawal, the process immediately following the stopping of regular drug use, will result in a loss of quality sleep. But the body needs rest in order to heal itself naturally. Exercise will help retrain your body to follow its natural circadian rhythm. This means you’ll have less internal interruptions as you try to sleep. So exercising can make you physically tired while also helping to clear your mind in order for you to sleep better.
2. A Structured Routine
Having a set time and date for your workouts can be a great help to those in treatment. By using a structured schedule, it will be easier to stay on the path to recovery. This will eliminate tempting moments of relapse. It will also serve as a better form of coping as opposed to using drugs or overeating.
3. Maintaining Control
During the beginning of a detox program, it can be an emotionally draining experience. Those in rehab might feel overwhelmed and lacking in control. By using exercise, they will feel as if they have control of their body and how they use their time.
4. Raised Self-Esteem
It’s not uncommon for those in rehab centers to have low self-esteem and poor self-images stemming from the effects of substance abuse. Exercise can help raise self-esteem by empowering them and increasing their confidence levels.
5. Stress Reliever
Stress is something that most people cannot avoid. It is also one of the factors that lead to substance abuse. Exercise offers a healthier outlet for stress and anger. Those in rehab centers can make use of onsite gyms, where they can engage in hitting a punching bag or even weightlifting. If the treatment lacks a facility, going running or cycling can also help alleviate stress and tension.
6. Cleanses The Body
Exercise is a natural way to trigger your body to heal itself. Regular exercise has the ability to reduce some of the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. It can also help curb the cravings associated with various drugs. Exercising also increases the body’s circulation and oxygen levels. This helps in repairing the brain cells lost from extreme drug or alcohol use. It’s also known that exercise at the aerobic level can create a natural feeling of euphoria (or being “high”).
7. Better Cognition
Prolonged drug and alcohol use can severely damage the brain and change how users think and act. In a rehab setting, one of the goals is to improve the thinking and cognitive patterns. Speech, impulse control and decision making are a few target areas that get the most benefit from improving cognition.
8. A Better Body and Mind
This benefit is not just for those in rehab, but anyone who commits to a workout regimen. Exercising will restore your body and keep it in good physical condition. While it won’t completely erase all the damaging effects of substance abuse, it will certainly make your body stronger as you recover. Your mental state can also be improved through exercise.
9. A Positive Time Filler
There will be times in rehab when the patients are left to their own devices. They will be responsible for how they spend their free time. Outside of rehab, this time might have been filled with either using or seeking drugs. Exercise is a great way to pass the time without any harmful effects. By making exercise a priority, they will have a goal for that day and also have less anxiety or boredom regarding how to spend time. This could be a chance to socialize with others seeking treatment or to better understand their own mind through meditation or yoga.