If you’re trying overcome an addiction to prescription medication, you know all too well how difficult the process can be, but in saying that, there are a variety of things to ensure you beat your addiction. This includes seeking a quality inpatient or outpatient treatment center and being around supportive friends and family. Of course, this is not to say that the threat of relapse won’t rear its ugly head from time to time, but a good support system can help you avoid falling off the wagon and picking up where you left off. In addition to seeking treatment and having a good support system, exercise can also help you get over your addiction. In this article, we will discuss how exercise can boost your mood and reinforce your commitment to cleaning up your life.
- Adding Structure to Your Day Through Exercise
When we’re feeling restless or bored, the likelihood of relapse increases immensely. By creating an exercise routine, whether through a gym membership or on your own accord, you can eliminate a whole lot of downtime. In doing so, you are less likely to do anything that will result in your workouts being more challenging than they need to be. Also, a commitment to regular exercise keeps you preoccupied with getting healthy as opposed to fixating on your next high.
- Exercise Doesn’t Have to Complicate Your Life
Although exercise serves as a great distraction in the face of addiction, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Exercise comes down to being physically active. As such, it can take on many forms, from a brisk walk to light strength training and everything in-between. To that point, choose an exercise program that aligns with your fitness level and also one that you will look forward to doing. It’s also worth noting that exercise doesn’t have to be an all-day affair; in fact, studies have shown the healthful benefits can be achieved in as little as 15 minutes per day.
- Exercise Evokes Positive Feelings
As we exercise, a variety of new connections are being formed in the cortical areas of the brain, and these new connections are capable of producing an antidepressant-like effect, basically boosting your mood and increasing feelings of positivity. Studies have shown that this change in mood is primarily the result of cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. The benefits, however, don’t stop there; exercise also benefits your physical health by lowering the risk of cancer and strokes and also improving joint and bone health. All in all, exercise benefits the mind, body, and soul.
- Overcoming Withdrawal Symptoms Through Exercise
The hardest part of any addiction has to be overcoming the withdrawal symptoms; exercise can help you in this regard too. Regardless of which substance you’re addicted to, the feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression are universal and exercise has been proven to mitigate the intensity of these feelings, which, in turn, lessens the desire to resolve them through alcohol, prescription medication, or any other drug of choice. While we are the topic, it is worth noting that the probability of overcoming an addiction increases exponentially when coupled with other therapies. So in addition to exercise-related activities, consider seeking treatment for your addiction.
- Avoid Trading One Addiction for Another
Although there are many benefits that come with exercising, there is such a thing as too much exercise. In fact, some individuals have been known to exchange a drug addiction for exercise addiction. To that point, it helps to understand the driving force behind your addiction as it will allow you to make better choices going forward and also prevent you from relapsing. In order to achieve this level of clarity, it helps to speak with a therapist who may be able to identify certain triggers that may reveal why you started using in the first place. Furthermore, he or she can help you find better ways of managing your emotions, which, in turn, helps you to avoid making snap decisions that could impede your recovery. All in all, if you’re trying to overcome an addiction, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of any resource that improves your odds of quitting for good, including exercise.
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