How Exercise Aids Your Commitment to Recovery

A great tool anyone can use to manage emotions in a healthy manner is getting into an exercise routine. Exercise has been shown to alleviate both depression and anxiety, which are often precursors to a drug or alcohol relapse.

Doing as little as 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for at least three times a week has clinically proven to significantly improve many of the symptoms that are associated with anxiety and depression. Additionally, doing more rigorous exercises, such as bicycling or jogging, for as little as 10 or 15 minutes at a time, can be almost as effective. When an individual chooses these more rigorous activities, it may take less time exercising to improve their mood. It is extremely important to remember that exercise will benefit a person who has struggled with substance abuse the most if they stick to it, long term.

Physical activity decreases anxiety and depression in a number of different ways, which may include:

  • By releasing feel-good brain chemicals (endorphins) that have been reported to ease depression and be effective in altering an individual’s mood.
  • Exercise has been reported to increase body temperature, which can have a calming effect on the body.
  • Exercise can assist individuals in recovery by increasing their confidence level. Meeting various exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost an individual’s confidence.
  • Exercise will often offer opportunities to meet and socialize with others; just exchanging pleasantries or a friendly smile as you walk in your neighborhood can often help your mood.
  • Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from boredom and negative thoughts that tend to feed anxiety and depression.

When a person that has struggled with addiction acknowledges that a positive correlation exists between exercise and relapse prevention, they will be more likely to start and stick to a regular exercise routine.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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